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Library of English Classics 


//The Travels # 


Sir John 'Mandeville/ 

The version of the Cotton Manuscript 
in modern spelling 

With three narratives, in illustration of it, 
from Hakluyts " Navigations, Voyages & Discoveries 


Macmillan and Co. Limited 

New York : The Macmillan Company 
I 900 



THE Travels of Sir John Mandeville were edited anony- 
mously in 1725, in the version for which a 'Cotton' 
manuscript in the British Museum is our only extant 
authority. From 1499, when they were first printed by 
Wynkyn de Worde, the Travels had enjoyed great 
popularity in England, as in the rest of Europe ; but the 
printed editions before 1725 had all followed an inferior 
translation (with an unperceived gap in the middle of it), 
which had already gained the upper hand before printing 
was invented. Another manuscript in the British Museum, 
belonging to the ' Egerton ' collection, preserves yet a 
third version, and this was printed for the first time by 
Mr. G. F. Warner, for the Roxburghe Club, in 1889, 
together with the original French text, and an introduction, 
and notes, which it would be difficult to over-praise. In 
editing the Egerton version, Mr. Warner made constant 
reference to the Cotton manuscript, which he quoted in 
many of his critical notes. But with this exception, no 
one appears to have looked at the manuscript since it was 
first printed, and subsequent writers have been content to 
take the correctness of the 1725 text for granted, priding 
themselves, apparently, on the care with which they repro- 
duced all the superfluous eighteenth century capitals with 
which every line is dotted. Unluckily, the introduction 
of needless capitals was the least of the original editor's 


crimes, for he omits words and phrases, and sometimes 
(a common trick with careless copyists) a whole sentence 
or clause which happens to end with the same word as 
its predecessor. He was also a deliberate as well as a 
careless criminal, for the paragraph about the Arabic 
alphabet at the end of Chapter XV. being difficult to 
reproduce, he omitted it altogether, and not only this, 
but the last sentence of Chapter XVI. as well, because 
it contained a reference to it. 

That it has been left to the editor (who has hitherto 
rather avoided that name) of a series of popular reprints 
to restore whole phrases and sentences to the text of a 
famous book is not very creditable to English scholarship, 
and amounts, indeed, to a personal grievance; for to 
produce an easily readable text of an old book without 
a good critical edition to work on must always be difficult, 
while in the case of a work with the peculiar reputation 
of * Mandeville ' the difficulty is greatly increased. Had 
a critical edition existed, it would have been permissible 
for a popular text to botch the few sentences in which 
the tail does not agree with the beginning, and to correct 
obvious mistranslation without special note. But * Mande- 
ville ' has an old reputation as the ' Father of English 
Prose/ and when no trustworthy text is available, even 
a popular editor must be careful lest he bear false witness. 
The Cotton version is, therefore, here reproduced, ' warts 
and all,' save in less than a dozen instances, where a dagger 
indicates that, to avoid printing nonsense, an obvious 
flaw has been corrected either from the * Egerton ' manu- 
script or the French text. When a word still survives, 
the modern form is adopted : thus * Armenia ' and 
* soldiers ' are here printed instead of ' Ermony ' and 
4 soudiours.' But a new word is never substituted for an 


old one, and the reader who is unfamiliar with obsolete 
words, such as 'Almayne' (Germany) or 'dere' (harm), 
there are surprisingly few for a book written five 
centuries ago, must consult the unpretentious glossary. 
Of previous editions, that of 1725 and the reprints of 
it, including those of Halliwell-Phillipps, profess, though 
they do not do so, to reproduce the manuscript exactly. 
Thomas Wright's edition is really a translation, and that 
issued in 1895 by Mr. Arthur Layard often comes near 
to being one, though the artist-editor has shown far more 
feeling for the old text than his too whimsical illustrations 
might lead one to expect. It is hoped that the plan here 
adopted preserves as much as possible of the fourteenth 
century flavour, with the minimum of disturbance to the 
modern reader's enjoyment. 

The plan of this series forbids the introduction of 
critical disquisitions, and I am thus absolved from 
attempting any theory as to how the tangled web of 
the authorship of the book should be unravelled. The 
simple faith of our childhood in a Sir John Mandeville, 
really born at St. Albans, who travelled, and told in an 
English book what he saw and heard, is shattered to 
pieces. We now know that our Mandeville is a compila- 
tion, as clever and artistic as Malory's ' Morte d' Arthur,' 
from the works of earlier writers, with few, if any, touches 
added -from personal experience ; that it was written in 
French, and rendered into Latin before it attracted the 
notice of a series of English translators (whose own 
accounts of the work they were translating are not to be 
trusted), and that the name Sir John Mandeville was a 
nom de guerre borrowed from a real knight of this name 
who lived in the reign of Edward II. Beyond this it is 
difficult to unravel the knot, despite the ends which lie 


temptingly loose. A Liege chronicler, Jean d'Outremeuse, 
tells a story of a certain Jean de Bourgogne revealing on 
his deathbed that his real name was Sir John Mandeville ; 
and in accordance with this story there is authentic record 
of a funeral inscription to a Sir John Mandeville in a 
church at Liege. Jean de Bourgogne had written other 
books and had been in England, which he had left 
in 1322 (the year in which "Mandeville" began his 
travels), being then implicated in killing a nobleman, just, 
as the real Sir John Mandeville had been implicated 
ten years before in the death of the Earl of Cornwall. 
We think for a moment that we have an explanation 
of the whole mystery in imagining that Jean de Bourgogne 
(he was also called Jean a la Barbe, Joannes Barbatus) 
had chosen to father his compilation on Mandeville, 
and eventually merged his own identity in that of his 
pseudonym. But Jean d'Outremeuse, the recipient ot 
his deathbed confidence, is a tricky witness, who may 
have had a hand in the authorship himself, and there 
is no clear story as yet forthcoming. But the book 
remains, and is none the less delightful for the mystery 
which attaches to it, and little less important in the 
history of English literature as a translation than as an 
original work. For though a translation it stands as 
the first, or almost the first, attempt to bring secular 
subjects within the domain of English prose, and that 
is enough to make it mark an epoch. 

Mandeville is here reprinted rather as a source ot 
literary pleasure than as a medieval contribution to geo- 
graphy, and it is therefore no part of our duty to 
follow Mr. Warner in tracking out the authorities to 
whom the compiler had recourse in successive chapters. 
But as there was some space in this volume to spare, 


and a very pleasant method of filling it suggested itself, 
a threefold supplement is here printed, which may be of 
some use even to serious students, and is certainly very 
good literature. When Richard Hakluyt, at the end of 
the sixteenth century, was compiling his admirable work, 
' The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the 
English Nation, made by sea or over land, within the com- 
passe of these 1 500 yeeres/ he boldly overstepped the limits 
set forth on his title-page, and printed in the original 
Latin, with translations into good Elizabethan English, the 
narratives of three of the earlier travellers, all of them 
foreigners, from whom the compiler of Mandeville had 
drawn most freely. "And because," he tells us, "these 
north-eastern regions beyond Volga, by reason of the huge 
deserts, the cold climate, and the barbarous incivilitie of the 
people there inhabiting, were never yet thoroughly tra- 
velled by any of our Nation, nor sufficiently known unto 
us ; I have here annexed unto the said Englishman's l 
traveils the rare and memorable journals of two friers 
who were some of the first Christians that travailed 
farthest that way, and brought home most particular 
intelligence of all things which they had seen." These 
two friars were John de Piano Carpini, sent on an 
embassy to the great Chan by Pope Innocent IV. in 
1246, and William de Rubruquis, who travelled in the 
interests of Louis IX. of France in 1253. In the same 
way in his Second Part, Hakluyt adds ' The Voyage of 
Frier Beatus Odoricus to Asia Minor, Armenia, Chaldaea, 
Persia, India, China, and other remote parts/ Odoric 
being a Franciscan of Pordenone in North Italy, who 
dictated an account of his travels in 1330. Anyone who 

1 Not Mandeville, but an anonymous sojourner among the Tartars, 
whose story fills a page and a half in Hakluyt. 


compares these three narratives (more particularly Odoric's) 
with Mandeville' s Travels will see how the compiler used 
his materials, and they have also very considerable interest 
of their own. 

As this volume of the Library of English Classics has 
brought with it an unusual editorial responsibility, I may 
be permitted an editor's privilege in making two acknow- 
ledgments. The first, to my friend Mr. G. F. Warner, 
my readers must share with me, for without the help of 
his splendid edition of the ' Egerton ' version and the 
French text, the popular ' Mandeville ' could not have 
been attempted. My second acknowledgment is of a 
more personal nature. Roxburghe Club books are never 
easy to obtain, and the few copies of the Mandeville 
allowed to be sold were priced at 20 each. In noticing 
Mr. Warner's edition in the * Academy ' (from a borrowed 
copy), I remarked rather ruefully that the gratitude 
which students of moderate means could feel towards 
the Club for printing so valuable a work was somewhat 
tempered by this little matter of the price. I was then 
helping Mr. Charles Elton with the catalogue of his 
library, and on reading my review, he wrote me a pretty 
letter to say that by the rules of the Club he was 
the possessor of a second copy, and that he thought I 
was the best person to give it to. Students who have 
to think a good many times before they spend ^20 on 
a book do not often receive such a present from wealthy 
book-lovers ; and at the risk of obtruding more of my 
own concerns than my rough-and-ready editing entitles me 
to do, I cannot send out this ' Mandeville,' within a few 
weeks of Mr. Elton's too early death, without telling this 
little story of his kindness. 





THE PROLOGUE, ..... i 

I. To teach you the Way out of England to Constan- 
tinople, ..... 6 

II. Of the Cross and the Crown of our Lord Jesu Christ, 8 

III. Of the City of Constantinople, and of the Faith 

of the Greeks, . . . . 1 1 

IV. Of the Way from Constantinople to Jerusalem. Of 

Saint John the Evangelist. And of the Ypocras 
Daughter, transformed from a Woman to a 
Dragon, . . . . . . 1 6 

V. [Of diversities in Cyprus ; of the Road from Cyprus 
to Jerusalem, and of the Marvel of a Fosse 
full of Sand], . . . . 19 

VI. Of many Names of Sultans, and of the Tower of 

Babylon, . . . . . 23 

VII. Of the Country of Egypt ; of the Bird Phoenix of 
Arabia ; of the City of Cairo ; of the Cunning 
to know Balm and to prove it; and of the 
Garners of Joseph, .... 30 



VIII. Of the Isle of Sicily ; of the way from Babylon 
to the Mount Sinai; of the Church of Saint 
Katherine and of all the marvels there, . 36 

IX. Of the Desert between the Church of Saint 
Catherine and Jerusalem. Of the Dry Tree; 
and how Roses came first into the World, . 43 

X. Of the Pilgrimages in Jerusalem, and of the 

Holy Places thereabout, ... 49 

XI. Of the Temple of our Lord. Of the Cruelty 
of King Herod. Of the Mount Sion. Of 
Probatica Piscina; and of Natatorium Siloe, . 54. 

XII. Of the Dead Sea; and of the Flome Jordan. 
Of the Head of Saint John the Baptist; and 
of the Usages of the Samaritans, . . 67 

XIII. Of the Province of Galilee, and where Antichrist 

shall be born. Of Nazareth. Of the age of 
our Lady. Of the Day of Doom. And of 
the customs of Jacobites, Syrians; and of the 
usages of Georgians, . . . . 73 

XIV. Of the City of Damascus. Of three ways to 

Jerusalem; one, by land and by sea; another, 
more by land than by sea; and the third 
way to Jerusalem, all by land, . . 81 

XV. Of the Customs of Saracens, and of their Law. 
And how the Soldan reasoned me, Author 
of this Book ; and of the beginning of 
Mohammet, . . . . . 88 

XVI. Of the lands of Albania and of Libia. Of the 
wishings for watching of the Sparrow-hawk ; 
and of Noah's ship, .... 96 



XVII. Of the Land of Job ; and of his age. Of the 
array of men of Chaldea. Of the land 
where women dwell without company of men. 
Of the knowledge and virtues of the very 
diamond, ..... 102 

XVIII. Of the customs of Isles about Ind. Of the 
difference betwixt Idols and Simulacres. Of 
three manner growing of Pepper upon one 
tree. Of the Well that changeth his odour 
every hour of the day; and that is marvel, . 108 

XIX. Of the Dooms made by St. Thomas's hand. Of 
devotion and sacrifice made to Idols there, 
in the city of Calamye; and of the Proces- 
sion in going about the city, . . 115 

XX. Of the evil customs used in the Isle of Lamary. 
And how the earth and the sea be of round 
form and shape, by proof of the star that is 
clept Antarctic, that is fixed in the south, . 119 

XXI. Of the Palace of the King of the Isle of 
Java. Of the Trees that bear meal, honey, 
wine, and venom ; and of other marvels and 
customs used in the Isles marching there- 
about, . . . .125 

XXII. How men know by the Idol, if the sick shall 
die or not. Of Folk of diverse shape and 
marvellously disfigured. And of the Monks 
that gave their relief to baboons, apes, and 
marmosets, and to other beasts, . . 132 

XXIII. Of the great Chan of Cathay. Of the royalty 
of his palace, and how he sits at meat ; 
and of the great number of officers that 
serve him, . . . . .139 






Wherefore he is clept the great Chan. Of the 
Style of his Letters : and of the Superscription 
about his great Seal and his Privy Seal, 

XXV. Of the Governance of the great Chan's Court, 
and when he maketh solemn feasts. Of his 
Philosophers. And of his array, when he 
rideth by the country, 

XXVI. Of the Law and the Customs of the Tartariam 
dwelling in Cathay. And how that men do 
when the Emperor shall die, and how he 
shall be chosen, .... 

XXVII. Of the Realm of Tharse and the Lands and 
Kingdoms towards the Septentrional Parts, in 
coming down from the Land of Cathay, 

XXVIII. Of the Emperor of Persia, and of the Land of 
Darkness; and of other kingdoms that be- 
long to the great Chan of Cathay, and other 
lands of his, unto the sea of Greece, 

XXIX. Of the Countries and Isles that be beyond the 
Land of Cathay ; and of the fruits there ; 
and of twenty-two kings enclosed within the 
mountains, ..... 

XXX. Of the Royal Estate of Prester John. And of a 
rich man that made a marvellous castle and 
cleped it Paradise ; and of his subtlety, 

XXXI. Of the Devil's Head in the Valley Perilous. 
And of the Customs of Folk in diverse Isles 
that be about in the Lordship of Prester 
John,. ..... 

XXXII. Of the goodness of the folk of the Isle of Brag- 
man. Of King Alexander. And wherefore 
the Emperor of Ind is clept Prester John, . 










XXXIII. Of the Hills of Gold that Pismires keep. And 

of the four Floods that come from Paradise 
Terrestrial, . . . . 198 

XXXIV. Of the Customs of Kings and other that dwell 

in the Isles coasting to Prester John's Land. 
And of the Worship that the Son doth to 
the Father when he is dead, . . 202 





FOR as much as the land beyond the sea, that is to say the 
Holy Land, that men call the Land of Promission or of 
Behest, passing all other lands, is the most worthy land, 
most excellent, and lady and sovereign of all other lands, and 
is blessed and hallowed of the precious body and blood of 
our Lord Jesu Christ ; in the which land it liked him to 
take flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary, to environ that 
holy land with his blessed feet ; and there he would of his 
blessedness enombre him in the said blessed and glorious 
Virgin Mary, and become man, and work many miracles, 
and preach and teach the faith and the law of Christian 
men unto his children ; and there it liked him to suffer 
many reprovings and scorns for us ; and he that was king 
of heaven, of air, of earth, of sea and of all things that be 
contained in them, would all only be clept king of that 
land, when he said, Rex sum Judeorum, that is to say, ' I 
am King of Jews ' ; and that land he chose before all 
other lands, as the best and most worthy land, and the 
most virtuous land of all the world : for it is the heart 
and the midst of all the world, witnessing the philo- 
sopher, that saith thus, Virtus rerum in medio consistit, that 
is to say, ' The virtue of things is in the midst ' ; and in 
that land he would lead his life, and suffer passion and 
death of Jews, for us, to buy and to deliver us from 



pains of hell, and from death without end ; the which was 
ordained for us, for the sin of our forme-father Adam, 
and for our own sins also ; for as for himself, he had no 
evil deserved : for he thought never evil ne did evil : and 
he that was king of glory and of joy, might best in that 
place suffer death ; because he chose in that land rather 
than in any other, there to suffer his passion and his death. 
For he that will publish anything to make it openly known, 
he will make it to be cried and pronounced in the middle 
place of a town ; so that the thing that is proclaimed and 
pronounced, may evenly stretch to all parts : right so, he 
that was former of all the world, would suffer for us at 
Jerusalem, that is the midst of the world ; to that end and 
intent, that his passion and his death, that was published 
there, might be known evenly to all parts of the world. 

See now, how dear he bought man, that he made after 
his own image, and how dear he again-bought us, for the 
great love that he had to us, and we never deserved it to 
him. For more precious chattel ne greater ransom ne 
might he put for us, than his blessed body, his precious 
blood, and his holy life, that he thralled for us ; and all he 
offered for us that never did sin. 

Ah dear God ! What love had he to us his subjects, 
when he that never trespassed, would for trespassers 
suffer death ! Right well ought us for to love and worship, 
to dread and serve such a Lord ; and to worship and 
praise such an holy land, that brought forth such fruit, 
through the which every man is saved, but it be his own 
default. Well may that land be called delectable and 
a fructuous land, that was be-bled and moisted with the 
precious blood of our Lord Jesu Christ ; the which is the 
same land that our Lord benight us in heritage. And in 
that land he would die, as seised, to leave it to us, his 

Wherefore every good Christian man, that is of power, 
and hath whereof, should pain him with all his strength for to 
conquer our right heritage, and chase out all the misbeliev- 
ing men. For we be clept Christian men, after Christ our 
Father. And if we be right children of Christ, we ought 


for to challenge the heritage, that our Father left us, and 
do it out of heathen men's hands. But now pride, 
covetise, and envy have so inflamed the hearts of lords of 
the world, that they are more busy for to dis-herit their 
neighbours, more than for to challenge or to conquer their 
right heritage before-said. And the common people, that 
would put their bodies and their chattels, to conquer our 
heritage, they may not do it without the lords. For a 
sembly of people without a chieftain, or a chief lord, 
is as a flock of sheep without a shepherd ; the which 
departeth and disperpleth and wit never whither to go. 
But would God, that the temporal lords and all worldly 
lords were at good accord, and with the common people 
would take this holy voyage over the sea ! Then I trow 
well, that within a little time, our right heritage before- 
said should be reconciled and put in the hands of the right 
heirs of Jesu Christ. 

And, for as much as it is long time passed, that there was 
no general passage ne voyage over the sea ; and many men 
desire for to hear speak of the Holy Land, and have thereof 
great solace and comfort ; I, John Mandeville, Knight, albeit 
I be not worthy, that was born in England, in the town of 
St. Albans, and passed the sea in the year of our Lord Jesu 
Christ, 1322, in the day of St. Michael; and hitherto 
have been long time over the sea, and have seen and gone 
through many diverse lands, and many provinces and 
kingdoms and isles and have passed throughout Turkey, 
Armenia the little and the great ; through Tartary, Persia, 
Syria, Arabia, Egypt the high and the low ; through Lybia, 
Chaldea, and a great part of Ethiopia ; through Amazonia, 
Ind the less and the more, a great part ; and throughout 
many other Isles, that be about Ind ; where dwell many 
diverse folks, and of diverse manners and laws, and of 
diverse shapes of men. Of which lands and isles I shall 
speak more plainly hereafter ; and I shall devise you of 
some part of things that there be, when time shall be, after 
it may best come to my mind ; and specially for them, 
that will and are in purpose for to visit the Holy City of 
Jerusalem and the holy places that are thereabout. And 


I shall tell the way that they shall hold thither. For 
I have often times passed and ridden that way, with good 
company of many lords. God be thanked ! 

And ye shall understand, that I have put this book out 
of Latin into French, and translated it again out of French 
into English, that every man of my nation may understand 
it. But lords and knights and other noble and worthy 
men that con Latin but little, and have been beyond the 
sea, know and understand, if I say truth or no, and if I 
err in devising, for forgetting or else, that they may redress 
it and amend it. For things passed out of long time from 
a man's mind or from his sight, turn soon into forgetting ; 
because that mind of man ne may not be comprehended 
ne withholden, for the frailty of mankind. 


To teach you the Way out of England to 

IN the name of God, Glorious and Almighty ! 

He that will pass over the sea and come to land [to 
go to the city of Jerusalem, he may wend many ways, 
both on sea and land], after the country that he cometh 
from ; [for] many of them come to one end. But troweth 
not that I will tell you all the towns, and cities and castles 
that men shall go by ; for then should I make too long a 
tale ; but all only some countries and most principal steads 
that men shall go through to go the right way. 

First, if a man come from the west side of the world, as 
England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, or Norway, he may, if 
that he will, go through Almayne and through the 
kingdom of Hungary, that marcheth to the land of 
Polayne, and to the land of Pannonia, and so to Silesia. 

And the King of Hungary is a great lord and a mighty, 
and holdeth great lordships and much land in his hand. 


For he holdeth the kingdom of Hungary, Sclavonia, and 
of Comania a great part, and of Bulgaria that men call the 
land of Bougiers, and of the realm of Russia a great part, 
whereof he hath made a duchy, that lasteth unto the land 
of Nyfland, and marcheth to Prussia. And men go 
through the land of this lord, through a city that is clept 
Cypron, and by the castle of Neasburghe, and by the evil 
town, that sit toward the end of Hungary. And there 
pass men the river of Danube. This river of Danube is a 
full great river, and it goeth into Almayne, under the hills 
of Lombardy, and it receiveth into him forty other rivers, 
and it runneth through Hungary and through Greece and 
through Thrace, and it entereth into the sea, toward the 
east so rudely and so sharply, that the water of the sea is 
fresh and holdeth his sweetness twenty mile within the 

And after, go men to Belgrade, and enter into the 
land of Bougiers; and there pass men a bridge of stone 
that is upon the river of Marrok. And men pass through 
the land of Pyncemartz and come to Greece to the city of 
Nye, and to the city of Fynepape, and after to the city of 
Dandrenoble, and after to Constantinople, that was wont 
to be clept Bezanzon. And there dwelleth commonly the 
Emperor of Greece. And there is the most fair church 
and the most noble of all the world ; and it is of Saint 
Sophie. And before that church is the image of Justinian 
the emperor, covered with gold, and he sitteth upon an 
horse y-crowned. And he was wont to hold a round 
apple of gold in his hand : but it is fallen out thereof. 
And men say there, that it is a token that the emperor 
hath lost a great part of his lands and of his lordships ; for 
he was wont to be Emperor of Roumania and of Greece, 
of all Asia the less, and of the land of Syria, of the land of 
Judea in the which is Jerusalem, and of the land of Egypt, 
of Persia, and of Arabia. But he hath lost all but Greece ; 
and that land he holds all only. And men would many 
times put the apple into the image's hand again, but it will 
not hold it. This apple betokeneth the lordship that he 
had over all the world, that is round. And the tother 


hand he lifteth up against the East, in token to menace 
the misdoers. This image stands upon a pillar of marble 
at Constantinople. 


Of the Cross and the Crown of our Lord Jesu Christ 

AT Constantinople is the cross of our Lord Jesu Christ, 
and his coat without seams, that is clept Tunica inconsutilis, 
and the sponge, and the reed, of the which the Jews gave 
our Lord eysell and gall, in the cross. And there is one 
of the nails, that Christ was nailed with on the cross. 

And some men trow that half the cross, that Christ was 
done on, be in Cyprus, in an abbey of monks, that men 
call the Hill of the Holy Cross; but it is not so. For that 
cross that is in Cyprus, is the cross, in the which Dismas 
the good thief was hanged on. But all men know not that ; 
and that is evil y-done. For for profit of the offering, 
they say that it is the cross of our Lord Jesu Christ. 

And ye shall understand that the cross of our Lord was 
made of four manner of trees, as it is contained in this 
verse, In cruce fit p alma, cedrus, cypressus, oliva. For that 
piece that went upright from the earth to the head was of 
cypress ; and the piece that went over thwart, to the which 
his hands were nailed, was of palm ; and the stock, that 
stood within the earth, in the which was made the mortise, 
was of cedar ; and the table above his head, that was a foot 
and an half long, on the which the title was written in 
Hebrew, Greek and Latin, that was of olive. 

And the Jews made the cross of these four manner of 
trees ; for they trowed that our Lord Jesu Christ should 
have hanged on the cross, as long as the cross might last. 
And therefore made they the foot of the cross of cedar ; 
for cedar may not, in earth nor water, rot, and therefore 
they would that it should have lasted long. For they 
trowed that the body of Christ should have stunken, they 


made that piece, that went from the earth upwards of 
cypress, for it is well-smelling, so that the smell of his 
body should not grieve men that went forby. And the 
overthwart piece was of palm, for in the Old Testament 
it was ordained, that when one was overcome he should be 
crowned with palm; and for they trowed that they had the 
victory of Christ Jesus, therefore made they the overthwart 
piece of palm. And the table of the title they made of 
olive ; for olive betokeneth peace, as the story of Noe 
witnesseth ; when that the culver brought the branch of 
olive, that betokened peace made between God and man. 
And so trowed the Jews for to have peace, when Christ 
was dead ; for they said that he made discord and strife 
amongst them. And ye shall understand that our Lord 
was y-nailed on the cross lying, and therefore he suffered 
the more pain. 

And the Christian men, that dwell beyond the sea, in 
Greece, say that the tree of the cross, that we call cypress, 
was of that tree that Adam ate the apple off ; and that find 
they written. And they say also, that their scripture saith, 
that Adam was sick, and said to his son Seth, that he 
should go to the angel that kept Paradise, that he would 
send him oil of mercy, for to anoint with his members, 
that he might have health. And Seth went. But the 
angel would not let him come in ; but said to him, that he 
might not have of the oil of mercy. But he took him 
three grains of the same tree, that his father ate the apple 
off ; and bade him, as soon as his father was dead, that he 
should put these three grains under his tongue, and grave 
him so : and so he did. And of these three grains sprang 
a tree, as the angel said that it should, and bare a fruit, 
through the which fruit Adam should be saved. And 
when Seth came again, he found his father near dead. 
And when he was dead, he did with the grains as the angel 
bade him ; of the which sprung three trees, of the which 
the cross was made, that bare good fruit and blessed, our 
Lord Jesu Christ ; through whom, Adam and all that 
come of him, should be saved and delivered from dread of 
death without end, but it be their own default. 


This holy cross had the Jews hid in the earth, under a 
rock of the mount of Calvary ; and it lay there two hundred 
year and more, into the time that St. Helen, that was 
mother to Constantine the Emperor of Rome. And she 
was daughter of King Coel, born in Colchester, that was 
King of England, that was clept then Britain the more ; 
the which the Emperor Constance wedded to his wife, for 
her beauty, and gat upon her Constantine, that was after 
Emperor of Rome, and King of England. 

And ye shall understand, that the cross of our Lord was 
eight cubits long, and the overthwart piece was of length 
three cubits and a half. And one part of the crown of 
our Lord, wherewith he was crowned, and one of the nails, 
and the spear head, and many other relics be in France, in 
the king's chapel. And the crown lieth in a vessel of 
crystal richly dight. For .a king of France bought these 
relics some time of the Jews, to whom the emperor had 
laid them in wed for a great sum of silver. 

And if all it be so, that men say, that this crown is of 
thorns, ye shall understand, that it was of jonkes of the 
sea, that is to say, rushes of the sea, that prick as sharply 
as thorns. For I have seen and beholden many times that 
of Paris and that of Constantinople; for they were both 
one, made of rushes of the sea. But men have departed 
them in two parts : of the which, one part is at Paris, and 
the other part is at Constantinople. And I have one of 
those precious thorns, that seemeth like a white thorn ; and 
that was given to me for great specialty. For there are 
many of them broken and fallen into the vessel that the 
crown lieth in ; for they break for dryness when men move 
them to show them to great lords that come thither. 

And ye shall understand, that our Lord Jesu, in that 
night that he was taken, he was led into a garden ; and 
there he was first examined right sharply; and there the 
Jews scorned him, and made him a crown of the branches 
of albespine, that is white thorn, that grew in that same 
garden, and set it on his head, so fast and so sore, that the 
blood ran down by many places of his visage, and of his 
neck, and of his shoulders. And therefore hath the white 


thorn many virtues, for he that beareth a branch on him 
thereof, no thunder ne no manner of tempest may dere 
him ; nor in the house, that it is in, may no evil ghost 
enter nor come unto the place that it is in. And in that 
same garden, Saint Peter denied our Lord thrice. 

Afterward was our Lord led forth before the bishops 
and the masters of the law, into another garden of Annas ; 
and there also he was examined, reproved, and scorned, and 
crowned eft with a sweet thorn, that men clepeth bar- 
barines, that grew in that garden, and that hath also many 

And afterward he was led into a garden of Caiphas, and 
there he was crowned with eglantine. 

And after he was led into the chamber of Pilate, and 
there he was examined and crowned. And the Jews set 
him in a chair, and clad him in a mantle ; and there 
made they the crown of jonkes of the sea; and there 
they kneeled to him, and scorned him, saying, Ave, Rex 
Judeorum ! that is to say, c Hail, King of Jews ! ' And of 
this crown, half is at Paris, and the other half at Con- 
stantinople. And this crown had Christ on his head, when 
he was done upon the cross; and therefore ought men 
to worship it and hold it more worthy than any of the 

And the spear shaft hath the Emperor of Almayne ; 
but the head is at Paris. And natheles the Emperor of 
Constantinople saith that he hath the spear head ; and I 
have often time seen it, but it is greater than that at Paris. 


Of the City of Constantinople^ and of the Faith of 

AT Constantinople lieth Saint Anne, our Lady's mother, 
whom Saint Helen let bring from Jerusalem. And there 


lieth also the body of John Chrisostome, that was Arch- 
bishop of Constantinople. And there lieth also Saint Luke 
the Evangelist : for his bones were brought from Bethany, 
where he was buried. And many other relics be there. 
And there is the vessel of stone, as it were of marble, that 
men clepe enydros, that evermore droppeth water, and 
filleth himself every year, till that it go over above, with- 
out that that men take from within. 

Constantinople is a full fair city, and a good, and well 
walled ; and it is three-cornered. And there is an arm of 
the sea Hellespont : and some men call it the Mouth 
of Constantinople ; and some men call it the Brace of 
Saint George : and that arm closeth the two parts of the 
city. And upward to the sea, upon the water, was wont 
to be the great city of Troy, in a full fair plain : but that 
city was destroyed by them of Greece, and little appeareth 
thereof, because it is so long sith it was destroyed. 

About Greece there be many isles, as Calliste, Calcas, 
Oertige, Tesbria, Mynia, Flaxon, Melo, Carpate, and 
Lemnos. And in this isle is the mount Athos, that 
passeth the clouds. And there be many diverse languages 
and many countries, that be obedient to the emperor ; that 
is to say, Turcople, Pyncynard, Comange, and many other, 
as Thrace and Macedonia, of the which Alexander was 
king. In this country was Aristotle born, in a city that 
men clepe Stagyra, a little from the city of Thrace. And 
at Stagyra lieth Aristotle ; and there is an altar 
upon his tomb. And there make men great feasts for 
him every year, as though he were a saint. And at his 
altar they holden their great councils and their assemblies, 
and they hope, that through inspiration of God and of him, 
they shall have the better council. 

In this country be right high hills, toward the end of 
Macedonia. And there is a great hill, that men clepe 
Olympus, that departeth Macedonia and Thrace. And it 
is so high, that it passeth the clouds. And there is another 
hill, that is clept Athos, that is so high, that the shadow of 
him reacheth to Lemne, that is an isle ; and it is seventy- 
six mile between. And above at the cop of the hill is 


the air so clear, that men may find no wind there, and 
therefore may no beast live there, so is the air dry. 

And men say in these countries, that philosophers some 
time went upon these hills, and held to their nose a sponge 
moisted with water, for to have air ; for the air above was 
so dry. And above, in the dust and in the powder of 
those hills, they wrote letters and figures with their fingers. 
And at the year's end they came again, and found the 
same letters and figures, the which they had written the 
year before, without any default. And therefore it seemeth 
well, that these hills pass the clouds and join to the pure air. 

At Constantinople is the palace of the emperor, right 
fair and well-dight : and therein is a fair place for joustings, 
or for other plays and desports. And it is made with 
stages, and hath degrees about, that every man may well 
see, and none grieve other. And under these stages be 
stables well vaulted for the emperor's horses ; and all the 
pillars be of marble. 

And within the Church of Saint Sophia, an emperor 
sometime would have buried the body of his father, when 
he was dead. And, as they made the grave, they found a 
body in the earth, and upon the body lay a fine plate of 
gold; and thereon was written, in Hebrew, Greek, and 
Latin, letters that said thus; Jesu Chrislus nascetur de 
Virgine Maria, et ego credo in eum ; that is to say, * Jesu 
Christ shall be born of the Virgin Mary, and I trow in 
him.' And the date when it was laid in the earth, was 
two thousand year before our Lord was born. And yet is 
the plate of gold in the treasury of the church. And 
men say, that it was Hermogenes the wise man. 

And if all it so be, that men of Greece be Christian yet 
they vary from our faith. For they say, that the Holy 
Ghost may not come of the Son ; but all only of the Father. 
And they are not obedient to the Church of Rome, ne to 
the Pope. And they say that their Patriarch hath as much 
power over the sea, as the Pope hath on this side the sea. 
And therefore Pope John xxn. sent letters to them, how 
Christian faith should be all one ; and that they should be 
obedient to the Pope, that is God's Vicar on earth, to whom 


God gave his plein power for to bind and to assoil, and 
therefore they should be obedient to him. 

And they sent again diverse answers ; and among others 
they said thus : Potentiam tuam summam circa fuos subjcctos, 
firmiter credimus. Superbiam tuam summam tolerare non 
possumus. Avaritiam tuam summam satiare non intendimus. 
Dominus tecum ; quia Dominus nobiscum est. That is to say : 
* We trow well, that thy power is great upon thy subjects. 
We may not suffer thine high pride. We be not in 
purpose to fulfil thy great covetise. Lord be with thee ; 
for our Lord is with us. Farewell/ And other answer 
might he not have of them. 

And also they make their sacrament of the altar of 
Therf bread, for our Lord made it of such bread, when he 
made his Maundy. And on the Shere-Thursday make 
they their Therf bread, in token of the Maundy, and dry 
it at the sun, and keep it all the year, and give it to sick 
men, instead of God's body. And they make but one 
unction, when they christen children. And they anoint 
not the sick men. And they say that there is no Purga- 
tory, and that souls shall not have neither joy ne pain till 
the day of doom. And they say that fornication is no sin 
deadly, but a thing that is kindly, and that men and women 
should not wed but once, and whoso weddeth oftener than 
once, their children be bastards and gotten in sin. And 
their priests also be wedded. 

And they say also that usury is no deadly sin. And 
they sell benefices of Holy Church. And so do men in 
other places : God amend it when his will is ! And that is 
great sclaundre, for now is simony king crowned in Holy 
Church : God amend it for his mercy ! 

And they say, that in Lent, men shall not fast, ne sing 
Mass, but on the Saturday and on the Sunday. And they 
fast not on the Saturday, no time of the year, but it be 
Christmas Even or Easter Even. And they suffer not the 
Latins to sing at their altars ; and if they do, by any 
adventure, anon they wash the altar with holy water. And 
they say that there should be but one Mass said at one 
altar upon one day. 


And they say also that our Lord ne ate never meat ; but 
he made token of eating. And also they say, that we sin 
deadly in shaving our beards, for the beard is token of a 
man, and gift of our Lord. And they say that we sin 
deadly in eating of beasts that were forbidden in the Old 
Testament, and of the old Law, as swine, hares and other 
beasts, that chew not their cud. And they say that we 
sin, when we eat flesh on the days before Ash Wednesday, 
and of that that we eat flesh the Wednesday, and eggs 
and cheese upon the Fridays. And they accurse all those 
that abstain them to eat flesh the Saturday. 

Also the Emperor of Constantinople maketh the patri- 
arch, the archbishops and the bishops ; and giveth the 
dignities and the benefices of churches and depriveth them 
that be unworthy, when he findeth any cause. And so is 
he lord both temporal and spiritual in his country. 

And if ye will wit of their A.B.C. what letters they be, 
here ye may see them, with the names that they clepe them 
there amongst them : Alpha, Betha, Gama, Deltha, e longe, 
e brevis, Epilmon, Thetha, Iota, Kapda, Lapda, Mi, Ni, 
Xi, o brevis, Pi, Coph, Ro, Summa, Tau, Vi, Fy, Chi, Psi, 
Othomega, Diacosyn. 1 

And all be it that these things touch not to one way, 
nevertheless they touch to that, that I have hight you, to 
shew you a part of customs and manners, and diversities 
of countries. And for this is the first country that is 
discordant in faith and in belief, and varieth from our faith, 
on this half the sea, therefore I have set it here, that ye 
may know the diversity that is between our faith and theirs. 
For many men have great liking, to hear speak of strange 
things of diverse countries. 

1 The letters themselves in clumsy forms, as well as the names, are 
written in the manuscript, but the scribe has inserted "an A.B.C. of 
another manner " in the midst of them. The passage can be adequately 
represented only by a facsimile. 



\O f the Way from Constantinople to Jerusalem. ,] Of Saint 
John the Evangelist. And of the Tpocras Daughter, 
transformed from a Woman to a Dragon 

Now return I again, for to teach you the way from Con- 
stantinople to Jerusalem. He that will through Turkey, 
he goeth toward the city of Nyke, and passeth through the 
gate of Chienetout, and always men see before them the 
hill of Chienetout, that is right high ; and it is a mile and 
an half from Nyke. 

And whoso will go by water, by the brace of St. George, 
and by the sea where St. Nicholas lieth, and toward many 
other places first men go to an isle that is clept Sylo. In 
that isle groweth mastick on small trees, and out of them 
cometh gum, as it were of plum-trees or of cherry-trees. 

And after go men through the isle of Patmos ; and 
there wrote St. John the Evangelist the Apocalypse. And 
ye shall understand, that St. John was of age thirty-two 
year, when our Lord suffered his passion ; and after his 
passion, he lived sixty-seven year, and in the hundredth 
year of his age he died. 

From Patmos men go unto Ephesus, a fair city and 
nigh to the sea. And there died St. John, and was buried 
behind the high altar in a tomb. And there is a fair 
church ; for Christian men were wont to holden that place 
always. And in the tomb of St. John is nought but manna, 
that is clept angels' meat ; for his body was translated into 
Paradise. And Turks hold now all that place, and the city 
and a the church ; and all Asia the less is y-clept Turkey. And 
ye shall understand, that St. John let make his grave there 
in his life, and laid himself therein all quick ; and therefore 
some men say, that he died not, but that he resteth there till 
the day of doom. And, forsooth, there is a great marvel ; 
for men may see there the earth of the tomb apertly many 
times stir and move, as there were quick things under. 


And from Ephesus men go through many isles in the 
sea, unto the city of Patera, where St. Nicholas was born, 
and so to Martha, where he was chosen to be bishop ; and 
there groweth right good wine and strong, and that men 
call wine of Martha. And from thence go men to the 
isle of Crete, that the emperor gave sometime to [the] 

And then pass men through the isles of Colcos and of 
Lango, of the which isles Ypocras was lord of. And some 
men say, that in the isle of Lango is yet the daughter of 
Ypocras, in form and likeness of a great dragon, that is a 
hundred fathom of length, as men say, for I have not seen 
her. And they of the isles call her Lady of the Land. And 
she lieth in an old castle, in a cave, and sheweth twice or 
thrice in the year, and she doth no harm to no man, but if 
men do her harm. And she was thus changed and trans- 
formed, from a fair damosel, into likeness of a dragon, by 
a goddess that was clept Diana. And men say, that she 
shall so endure in that form of a dragon, unto [the] time 
that a knight come, that is so hardy, that dare come to her 
and kiss her on the mouth; and then shall she turn again 
to her own kind, and be a woman again, but after that she 
shall not live long. 

And it is not long sithen, that a knight of Rhodes, that 
was hardy and doughty in arms, said that he would kiss 
her. And when he was upon his courser, and went to the 
castle, and entered into the cave, the dragon lift up her head 
against him. And when the knight saw her in that form 
so hideous and so horrible he fled away. And the dragon 
bare the knight upon a rock, maugre his head ; and from 
that rock, she cast him into the sea. And so was lost both 
horse and man. 

And also a young man, that wist not of the dragon, went 
out of a ship, and went through the isle till that he came to 
the castle, and came into the cave, and went so long, till 
that he found a chamber ; and there he saw a damosel that 
combed her head and looked in a mirror ; and she had 
much treasure about her. And he trowed that she had 
been a common woman, that dwelled there to receive men 


to folly. And he abode, till the damosel saw the shadow 
of him in the mirror. And she turned her toward him, 
and asked him what he would ? And he said, he would 
be her leman or paramour. And she asked him, if that he 
were a knight ? And he said, nay. And then she said, 
that he might not be her leman ; but she bade him go 
again unto his fellows, and make him knight, and come 
again upon the morrow, and she should come out of the 
cave before him, and then come and kiss her on the mouth 
and have no dread, for I shall do thee no manner of 
harm, albeit that thou see me in likeness of a dragon ; for 
though thou see me hideous and horrible to look on, I 
do thee to wit that it is made by enchantment ; for 
without doubt, I am none other than thou seest now, a 
woman, and therefore dread thee nought. And if thou 
kiss me, thou shalt have all this treasure, and be my lord, 
and lord also of all the isle. 

And he departed from her and went to his fellows to 
ship, and let make him knight and came again upon 
the morrow for to kiss this damosel. And when he saw 
her come out of the cave in form of a dragon, so hideous 
and so horrible, he had so great dread, that he fled again to 
the ship, and she followed him. And when she saw that 
he turned not again, she began to cry, as a thing that had 
much sorrow; and then she turned again into her cave. 
And anon the knight died. And sithen hitherward might 
no knight see her, but that he died anon. But when a knight 
cometh, that is so hardy to kiss her, he shall not die ; but 
he shall turn the damosel into her right form and kindly 
shape, and he shall be lord of all the countries and isles 

And from thence men come to the isle of Rhodes, the 
which isle Hospitallers holden and govern ; and that took 
they some-time from the emperor. And it was wont to 
be clept Collos; and so call it the Turks yet. And 
Saint Paul in his epistle writeth to them of that isle ad 
Colossenses. This isle is nigh eight hundred mile long 
from Constantinople. 



[Of diversities in Cyprus; of the Road from Cyprus to Jeru- 
salem, and of the Marvel of a Fosse full of Sand^ 

AND from this isle of Rhodes men go to Cyprus, where 
be many vines, that first be red and after one year they 
become white ; and those wines that be most white, be 
most clear and best of smell. 

And men pass by that way, by a place that was wont to 
be a great city, and a great land ; and the city was clept 
Cathailye, the which city and land was lost through 
folly of a young man. For he had a fair damosel, that he 
loved well to his paramour ; and she died suddenly, and 
was done in a tomb of marble. And for the great lust 
that he had to her, he went in the night unto her tomb and 
opened it, and went in and lay by her, and went his way. 
And when it came to the end of nine months, there came 
a voice to him and said, Go to the tomb of that woman, 
and open it and behold what thou hast begotten on her ; 
and if thou let to go, thou shalt have a great harm. And 
he yede and opened the tomb, and there flew out an adder 
right hideous to see ; the which as swithe flew about the 
city and the country, and soon after the city sank down. 
And there be many perilous passages without fail. 

From Rhodes to Cyprus be five hundred mile and 
more. But men may go to Cyprus, and come not at 
Rhodes. Cyprus is right a good isle, and a fair and a 
great, and it hath four principal cities within him. And 
there is an Archbishop at Nicosea, and four other bishops 
in that land. And at Famagost is one of the principal 
havens of the sea that is in the world ; and there arrive 
Christian men and Saracens and men of all nations. In 
Cyprus is the Hill of the Holy Cross ; and there is an 
abbey of monks black, and there is the cross of Dismas the 
good thief, as I have said before. And some men trow, 

1 This rubric is omitted in the manuscript. 


that there is half the cross of our Lord ; but it is not so, 
and they do evil that make men to believe so. 

In Cyprus lieth Saint Zenonimus, of whom men of that 
country make great solemnity. And in the castle of 
Amours lieth the body of Saint Hilarion, and men keep it 
right worshipfully. And beside Famagost was Saint 
Barnabas the apostle born. 

In Cyprus men hunt with papyonns, that be like 
leopards, and they take wild beasts right well, and they be 
somewhat more than lions ; and they take more sharply 
the beasts, and more deliver than do hounds. 

In Cyprus is the manner of lords and all other men all 
to eat on the earth. For they make ditches in the earth 
all about in the hall, deep to the knee, and they do pave 
them ; and when they will eat, they go therein and sit 
there. And the skill is for they may be the more fresh ; for 
that land is much more hotter than it is here. And at 
great feasts, and for strangers, they set forms and tables, 
as men do in this country, but they had lever sit in the 

From Cyprus, men go to the land of Jerusalem by the 
sea : and in a day and in a night, he that hath good wind 
may come to the haven of Tyre, that is now clept Surrye. 
There was some-time a great city and a good of Christian 
men, but Saracens have destroyed it a great part ; and 
they keep that haven right well, for dread of Christian 
men. Men might go more right to that haven, and come 
not in Cyprus, but they go gladly to Cyprus to rest them 
on the land, or else to buy things, that they have need to 
their living. On the sea-side men may find many rubies. 
And there is the well of the which holy writ speaketh of, 
and saith, Fons ortorum, et puteus aquarum viventium : that 
is to say, * the well of gardens, and the ditch of living 

In this city of Tyre, said the woman to our Lord, Eeatus 
venter qui te portavit, et ubera que succisti : that is to say, 
* Blessed be the body that thee bare, and the paps that thou 
suckedst.' And there our Lord forgave the woman of 
Canaan her sins. And before Tyre was wont to be the 


stone, on the which our Lord sat and preached, and on 
that stone was founded the Church of Saint Saviour. 

And eight mile from Tyre, toward the east, upon the 
sea, is the city of Sarphen, in Sarepta of Sidonians. And 
there was wont for to dwell Elijah the prophet ; and there 
raised he Jonas, the widow's son, from death to life. And 
five mile from Sarphen is the city of Sidon ; of the which 
city, Dido was lady, that was Aeneas* wife, after the 
destruction of Troy, and that founded the city of Carth- 
age in Africa, and now is clept Sidonsayete. And in the 
city of Tyre, reigned Agenor, the father of Dido. And 
sixteen mile from Sidon is Beirout. And from Beirout 
to Sardenare is three journeys and from Sardenare is five 
mile to Damascus. 

And whoso will go long time on the sea, and come 
nearer to Jerusalem, he shall go from Cyprus by sea to 
port Jaffa. For that is the next haven to Jerusalem ; for 
from that haven is not but one day journey and a half to 
Jerusalem. And the town is called Jaffa ; for one of the 
sons of Noah that hight Japhet founded it, and now it is 
clept Joppa. And ye shall understand, that it is one of the 
oldest towns of the world, for it was founded before Noah's 
flood. And yet there sheweth in the rock, there as the 
iron chains were fastened, that Andromeda, a great giant, 
was bounden with, and put in prison before Noah's flood, 
of the which giant, is a rib of his side that is forty foot long. 

And whoso will arrive at the port of Tyre or of Surrye, 
that I have spoken of before, may go by land, if he will, to 
Jerusalem. And men go from Surrye unto the city of Akon 
in a day. And it was clept some-time Ptolemai's. And 
it was some-time a city of Christian men, full fair, but it 
is now destroyed ; and it stands upon the sea. And from 
Venice to Akon, by sea, is two thousand and four score 
miles of Lombard y ; and from Calabria, or from Sicily to 
Akon, by sea, is a 1300 miles of Lombardy ; and the isle 
of Crete is right in the midway. 

And beside the city of Akon, toward the sea, six score 
furlongs on the right side, toward the south, is the Hill 
of Carmel, where Elijah the prophet dwelled, and there 


was first the Order of Friars Carmelites founded. This 
hill is not right great, nor full high. And at the foot of 
this hill was some-time a good city of Christian men, that 
men clept Caiffa, for Caiaphas first founded it ; but it is 
now all wasted. And on the left side of the Hill of Carmel 
is a town, that men clepe Saffre, and that is set on another 
hill. There Saint James and Saint John were born ; and, 
in worship of them there is a fair church. And from 
Ptolemais, that men clepe now Akon, unto a great hill, that 
is clept Scale of Tyre, is one hundred furlongs. And beside 
the city of Akon runneth a little river, that is clept Belon. 

And there nigh is the Foss of Mennon that is all round; 
and it is one hundred cubits of largeness, and it is all full 
of gravel, shining bright, of the which men make fair verres 
and clear. And men come from far, by water in ships, 
and by land with carts, for to fetch of that gravel. And 
though there be never so much taken away thereof in the 
day, at morrow it is as full again as ever it was ; and that 
is a great marvel. And there is evermore great wind in 
that foss, that stirreth evermore the gravel, and maketh it 
trouble. And if any man do therein any manner metal, it 
turneth anon to glass. And the glass, that is made of that 
gravel, if it be done again into the gravel, it turneth anon 
into gravel as it was first. And therefore some men say, 
that it is a swallow of the gravelly sea. 

Also from Akon, above-said, go men forth four journeys 
to the city of Palestine, that was of the Philistines, that now 
is clept Gaza, that is a gay city and a rich ; and it is right 
fair and full of folk, and it is a little from the sea. And 
from this city brought Samson the strong the gates upon 
an high land, when he was taken in that city, and there 
he slew in a palace the king and himself, and great number 
of the best of the Philistines, the which had put out his 
eyen and shaved his head, and imprisoned him by treason 
of Dalida his paramour. And therefore he made fall upon 
them a great hall, when they were at meat. 

And from thence go men to the city of Cesarea, and so 
to the Castle of Pilgrims, and so to Ascalon ; and then to 
Jaffa, and so to Jerusalem. 


And whoso will go by land through the land of Babylon, 
where the soldan dwelleth commonly, he must get grace of 
him and leave to go more siker through those lands and 

And for to go to the Mount of Sinai, before that men 
go to Jerusalem, they shall go from Gaza to the Castle of 
Daire. And after that, men come out of Syria, and enter 
into wilderness, and there the way is full sandy ; and that 
wilderness and desert lasteth eight journeys, but always 
men find good inns, and all that they need of victuals. 
And men clepe that wilderness Achelleke. And when 
a man cometh out of that desert, he entereth into Egypt, 
that men clepe Egypt-Canopac, and after other language, 
men clepe it Morsyn. And there first men find a good 
town, that is clept Belethe ; and it is at the end of the 
kingdom of Aleppo. And from thence men go to Babylon 
and to Cairo. 


Of many Names of Soldans, and of the 'Tower of Babylon 

AT Babylon there is a fair church of our Lady, where 
she dwelled seven year, when she fled out of the land of 
Judea for dread of King Herod. And there lieth the 
body of Saint Barbara the virgin and martyr. And there 
dwelled Joseph, when he was sold of his brethren. And 
there made Nebuchadnezzar the king put three children 
into the furnace of fire, for they were in the right truth of 
belief, the which children men clept Anania, Azariah, 
Mishael, as the Psalm of Benedicite saith : but Nebuchad- 
nezzar clept them otherwise, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed- 
nego, that is to say, God glorious, God victorious, and 
God over all things and realms : and that was for the 
miracle, that he saw God's Son go with the children through 
the fire, as he said. 

There dwelleth the soldan in his Calahelyke (for there 


is commonly his seat) in a fair castle, strong and great, and 
well set upon a rock. In that castle dwell alway, to keep 
it and to serve the soldan, more then 6000 persons, that 
take all their necessaries off the soldan 1 s court. I ought 
right well to know it ; for I dwelled with him as soldier in 
his wars a great while against the Bedouins. And he 
would have married me full highly to a great prince's 
daughter, if I would have forsaken my law and my belief; 
but I thank God, I had no will to do it, for nothing that he 
behight me. 

And ye shall understand that the soldan is lord of five 
kingdoms, that he hath conquered and appropred to him 
by strength. And these be the names : the kingdom of 
Canapac, that is Egypt; and the kingdom of Jerusalem, 
where that David and Solomon were kings ; and the king- 
dom of Syria, of the which the city of Damascus was chief; 
and the kingdom of Aleppo in the land of Mathe ; and 
the kingdom of Arabia, that was to one of the three kings, 
that made offering to our Lord, when he was born. And 
many other lands he holdeth in his hand. And therewithal 
he holdeth caliphs, that is a full great thing in their language, 
and it is as much to say as king. 

And there were wont to be five soldans ; but now there 
is no more but he of Egypt. And the first soldan was 
Zarocon, that was of Media, as was father to Saladin that 
took the Caliph of Egypt and slew him, and was made 
soldan by strength. After that was Soldan Saladin, in whose 
time the King of England, Richard the First, with many 
other, kept the passage, that Saladin ne might not pass. 
After Saladin reigned his son Boradin, and after him his 
nephew. After that, the Comanians that were in servage 
in Egypt, felt themselves that they were of great power, 
they chose them a soldan amongst them, the which made 
him to be clept Melechsalan. And in his time entered 
into the country of the kings of France Saint Louis, and 
fought with him ; and [the soldan] took him and imprisoned 
him ; and this [soldan] was slain by his own servants. And 
after, they chose another to be soldan, that they clept 
Tympieman ; and he let deliver Saint Louis out of prison 


for a certain ransom. And after, one of these Comanians 
reigned, that hight Cachas, and slew Tympieman, for to be 
soldan ; and made him be clept Melechmenes. And after 
another that had to name Bendochdare, that slew Melech- 
menes, for to be sultan, and clept himself Melechdare. In 
his time entered the good King Edward of England into 
Syria, and did great harm to the Saracens. And after, was 
this soldan empoisoned at Damascus, and his son thought 
to reign after him by heritage, and made him to be clept 
Melechsache ; but another that had to name Elphy, chased 
him out of the country and made him soldan. This man 
took the city of Tripoli and destroyed many of the 
Christian men, the year of grace 1289, anc ^ after was he 
imprisoned of another that would be soldan, but he was 
anon slain. After that was the son of Elphy chosen to be 
soldan, and clept him Melechasseraff, and he took the city 
of Akon and chased out the Christian men ; and this was 
also empoisoned, and then was his brother made soldan, 
and was clept Melechnasser. And after, one that was 
clept Guytoga took him and put him in prison in the castle 
of Mountroyal, and made him soldan by strength, and 
clept him Melechadel ; and he was of Tartary. But the 
Comanians chased him out of the country, and did him 
much sorrow, and made one of themself soldan, that had 
to name Lachin. And he made him to be clept Melech- 
manser, the which on a day played at the chess, and his 
sword lay beside him ; and so befell, that one wrathed him, 
and with his own proper sword he was slain. And after 
that, they were at great discord, for to make a soldan ; and 
finally they accorded to Melechnasser, that Guytoga had 
put in prison at Mountroyal. And this reigned long and 
governed wisely, so that his eldest son was chosen after him, 
Melechmader, the which his brother let slay privily for to 
have the lordship, and made him tobecleptMelechmadabron, 
and he was soldan when I departed from those countries. 

And wit ye well that the soldan may lead out of Egypt 
more than 20,000 men of arms, and out of Syria, and out 
of Turkey and out of other countries that he holds, he 
may arrere more than 50,000. And all those be at his 


wages, and they be always at him, without the folk of his 
country, that is without number. And every each of 
them hath by year the mountance of six score florins ; but 
it behoveth, that every of them hold three horses and a 
camel. And by the cities and by towns be admirals, that 
have the governance of the people ; one hath to govern 
four, and another hath to govern five, another more, and 
another well more. And as many taketh the admiral by 
him alone, as all the other soldiers have under him ; and 
therefore, when the soldan will advance any worthy knight, 
he maketh him an admiral. And when it is any dearth, 
the knights be right poor, and then they sell both their 
horse and their harness. 

And the soldan hath four wives, one Christian and three 
Saracens, of the which one dwelleth at Jerusalem, and 
another at Damascus, and another at Ascalon ; and when 
them list, they remove to other cities, and when the soldan 
will he may go to visit them. And he hath as many par- 
amours as him liketh. For he maketh to come before 
him the fairest and the noblest of birth, and the gentlest 
damosels of his country, and he maketh them to be kept 
and served full honourably. And when he will have one 
to lie with him, he maketh them all to come before him, 
and he beholdeth in all, which of them is most to his 
pleasure, and to her anon he sendeth or casteth a ring 
from his finger. And then anon she shall be bathed and 
richly attired, and anointed with delicate things of sweet 
smell, and then led to the soldan' s chamber ; and thus he 
doth as often as him list, when he will have any of them. 

And before the soldan cometh no stranger, but if he be 
clothed in cloth of gold, or of Tartary or of Camaka, in 
the Saracens' guise, and as the Saracens use. And it be- 
hoveth, that anon at the first sight that men see the 
soldan, be it in window or in what place else, that men 
kneel to him and kiss the earth, for that is the manner to 
do reverence to the soldan of them that speak with him. 
And when that messengers of strange countries come 
before him, the meinie of the soldan, when the strangers 
speak to him, they be about the soldan with swords drawn 


and gisarmes and axes, their arms lifted up in high with 
those weapons for to smite upon them, if they say any word 
that is displeasance to the soldan. And also, no stranger 
cometh before him, but that he maketh him some promise 
and grant of that the [stranger] asketh reasonably ; by so it 
be not against his law. And so do other princes beyond, 
for they say that no man shall come before no prince, but 
that [he be] better, and shall be more gladder in departing 
from his presence than he was at the coming before him. 

And understandeth, that that Babylon that I have 
spoken of, where that the sultan dwelleth, is not that 
great Babylon where the diversity of languages was first 
made for vengeance by the miracle of God, when the great 
Tower of Babel was begun to be made ; of the which 
the walls were sixty-four furlongs of height ; that is in the 
great desert of Arabia, upon the way as men go toward 
the kingdom of Chaldea. But it is full long since that 
any man durst nigh to the tower ; for it is all desert and 
full of dragons and great serpents, and full of diverse 
venomous beasts all about. That tower, with the city, 
was of twenty-five mile in circuit of the walls, as they of 
the country say, and as men may deem by estimation, 
after that men tell of the country. 

And though it be clept the Tower of Babylon, yet 
nevertheless there were ordained within many mansions 
and many great dwelling-places, in length and breadth. 
And that tower contained great country in circuit, for the 
tower alone contained ten mile square. That tower 
founded King Nimrod that was king of that country ; and he 
was the first king of the world. And he let make an image 
in the likeness of his father, and constrained all his subjects 
for to worship it ; and anon began other lords to do the 
same, and so began the idols and the simulacres first. 

The town and the city were full well set in a fair 
country and a plain that men clepe the country of Samar, 
of the which the walls of the city were two hundred cubits 
in height, and fifty cubits of deepness ; and the river 
of Euphrates ran throughout the city and about the tower 
also. But Cyrus the King of Persia took from them the 


river, and destroyed all the city and the tower also ; for he 
departed that river in 360 small rivers, because that he 
had sworn, that he should put the river in such point, that 
a woman might well pass there, without casting off of her 
clothes, forasmuch as he had lost many worthy men that 
trowed to pass that river by swimming. 

And from Babylon where the soldan dwelleth, to go 
right between the Orient and the Septentrion toward the 
great Babylon, is forty journeys to pass by desert. But 
it is not the great Babylon in the land and in the power of 
the said soldan, but it is in the power and the lordship of 
Persia, but he holdeth it of the great Chan, that is the 
greatest emperor and the most sovereign lord of all the parts 
beyond, and he is lord of the isles of Cathay and of many 
other isles and of a great part of Ind, and his land marcheth 
unto Prester John's Land, and he holdeth so much land, 
that he knoweth not the end : and he is more mighty and 
greater lord without comparison than is the soldan : of his 
royal estate and ot his might I shall speak more plenerly, 
when I shall speak of the land and of the country of Ind. 

Also the city of Mecca where Mohammet lieth is of the 
great deserts of Arabia ; and there lieth [the] body of him 
full honourably in their temple, that the Saracens clepen 
Musketh. And it is from Babylon the less, where the soldan 
dwelleth, unto Mecca above-said, into a thirty-two journeys. 

And wit well, that the realm of Arabia is a full great 
country, but therein is over-much desert. And no man 
may dwell there in that desert for default of water, for 
that land is all gravelly and full of sand. And it is dry 
and no thing fruitful, because that it hath no moisture ; 
and therefore is there so much desert. And if it had 
rivers and wells, and the land also were as it is in other 
parts, it should be as full of people and as full inhabited 
with folk as in other places ; for there is full great multi- 
tude of people, whereas the land is inhabited. Arabia dureth 
from the ends of the realm of Chaldea unto the last end 
of Africa, and marcheth to the land of Idumea toward the 
end of Botron. And in Chaldea the chief city is Bagdad. 
And of Africa the chief city is Carthage, that Dido, that 


was Eneas's wife, founded ; the which Eneas was of the 
city of Troy, and after was King of Italy. 

Mesopotamia stretcheth also unto the deserts of Arabia, 
and it is a great country. In this country is the city of 
Haran, where Abraham's father dwelled, and from whence 
Abraham departed by commandment of the angel. And 
of that city was Ephraim, that was a great clerk and a 
great doctor. And Theophilus was of that city also, that 
our lady saved from our enemy. And Mesopotamia 
dureth from the river of Euphrates, unto the river of 
Tigris, for it is between those two rivers. 

And beyond the river of Tigris is Chaldea, that is a full 
great kingdom. In that realm, at Bagdad above-said, was 
wont to dwell the caliph, that was wont to be both as 
Emperor and Pope of the Arabians, so that he was lord 
spiritual and temporal; and he was successor to Mahommet, 
and of his generation. That city of Bagdad was wont to 
be clept Sutis, and Nebuchadnezzar founded it ; and there 
dwelled the holy prophet Daniel, and there he saw visions 
of heaven, and there he made the exposition of dreams. 

And in old time there were wont to be three caliphs, 
he of Arabia and 1"of Chaldea dwelt in the city of Bagdad 
above-said ; and at Cairo beside Babylon dwelt the Caliph 
of Egypt ; and at Morocco, upon the West Sea, dwelt the 
Caliph of the people of Barbary and of Africans. And 
now is there none of the caliphs, nor nought have been 
since the time of the Soldan Saladin ; for from that time 
hither the soldan clepeth himself caliph, and so have the 
caliphs lost their name. 

Also witeth well, that Babylon the less, where the 
soldan dwelleth, and at the city of Cairo that is nigh beside 
it, be great huge cities many and fair ; and that one sitteth 
nigh that other. Babylon sitteth upon the river of Gyson, 
sometimes clept Nile, that cometh out of Paradise 

That river of Nile, all the year, when the sun entereth 
into the sign of Cancer, it beginneth to wax, and it waxeth 
always, as long as the sun is in Cancer and in the sign of 
the Lion ; and it waxeth in such manner, that it is some- 


times so great, that it is twenty cubits or more of deepness, 
and then it doth great harm to the goods that be upon the 
land. For then may no man travail to plough the lands 
for the great moisture, and therefore is there dear time in 
that country. And also, when it waxeth little, it is dear 
time in that country, for default of moisture. And when 
the sun is in the sign of Virgo, then beginneth the river for 
to wane and to decrease little and little, so that when the 
sun is entered into the sign of Libra, then they enter 
between these rivers. This river cometh, running from 
Paradise terrestrial, between the deserts of Ind, and after 
it smiteth unto land, and runneth long time many great 
countries under earth. And after it goeth out under an 
high hill, that men clepe Alothe, that is between Ind and 
Ethiopia the mountance of five months' journeys from the 
entry of Ethiopia ; and after it environeth all Ethiopia and 
Mauritania, and goeth all along from the land of Egypt 
unto the city of Alexandria to the end of Egypt, and there 
it falleth into the sea. About this river be many birds and 
fowls, as sikonies, that they clepen ibes. 


Of the Country of Egypt ; of the Bird Phoenix of Arabia ; 
of the City of Cairo ; of the Cunning to know Balm and 
to prove it ; and of the Garners of Joseph 

EGYPT is a long country, but it is straight, that is to say 
narrow, for they may not enlarge it toward the desert for 
default of water. And the country is set along upon the 
river of Nile, by as much as that river may serve by floods 
or otherwise, that when it floweth it may spread abroad 
through the country ; so is the country large of length. 
For there it raineth not but little in that country, and for 
that cause they have no water, but if it be of that flood of 
that river. And forasmuch as it ne raineth not in that 


country, but the air is alway pure and clear, therefore in 
that country be the good astronomers, for they find there 
no clouds to letten them. Also the city of Cairo is right 
great and more huge than that of Babylon the less, and 
it sitteth above toward the desert of Syria, a little above 
the river above-said. 

In Egypt there be two parts : the height, that is toward 
Ethiopia, and the lower, that is toward Arabia. In Egypt 
is the land of Rameses and the land of Goshen. Egypt 
is a strong country, for it hath many shrewd havens because 
of the great rocks that be strong and dangerous to pass 
by. And at Egypt, toward the east, is the Red Sea, that 
dureth unto the city of Coston ; and toward the west is 
the ''"country of Lybia, that is a full dry land and little of 
fruit, for it is overmuch plenty of heat, and that land is 
clept Fusthe. And toward the part meridional is Ethiopia. 
And toward the north is the desert, that dureth unto 
Syria, and so is the country strong on all sides. And it is 
well a fifteen journeys of length, and more than two so 
much of desert, and it is but two journeys in largeness. 
And between Egypt and Nubia it hath well a twelve 
journeys of desert. And men of Nubia be Christian, but 
they be black as the Moors for great heat of the sun. 

In Egypt there be five provinces : that one is Sahythe ; 
that other Demeseer ; another Resith, that is an isle in 
the Nile ; another Alexandria ; and another the land of 
Damietta. That city was wont to be right strong, but 
it was twice won of the Christian men, and therefore after 
that the Saracens beat down the walls ; and with the walls 
and the tower thereof, the Saracens made another city 
more far from the sea, and clept it the new Damietta ; so 
that now no man dwelleth at the rather town of Damietta. 
At that city of Damietta is one of the havens of Egypt ; 
and at Alexandria is that other. That is a full strong city, 
but there is no water to drink, but if it come by conduit 
from Nile, that entereth into their cisterns ; and whoso 
stopped that water from them, they might not endure 
there. In Egypt there be but few forcelets or castles, 
because that the country is so strong of himself. 


At the deserts of Egypt was a worthy man, that was an 
holy hermit, and there met with him a monster (that is to 
say, a monster is a thing deformed against kind both of 
man or of beast or of anything else, and that is clept a 
monster). And this monster, that met with this holy 
hermit, was as it had been a man, that had two horns 
trenchant on his forehead ; and he had a body like a man 
unto the navel, and beneath he had the body like a goat. 
And the hermit asked him what he was. And the monster 
answered him, and said he was a deadly creature, such as 
God had formed, and dwelt in those deserts in purchasing 
his sustenance. And [he] besought the hermit, that he 
would pray God for him, the which that came from heaven 
for to save all mankind, and was born of a maiden and 
suffered passion and death (as we well know) and by 
whom we live and be. And yet is the head with the two 
horns of that monster at Alexandria for a marvel. 

In Egypt is the city of Heliopolis, that is to say, the 
city of the Sun. In that city there is a temple, made 
round after the shape of the Temple of Jerusalem. The 
priests of that temple have all their writings, under the 
date of the fowl that is clept phoenix ; and there is none 
but one in all the world. And he cometh to burn himself 
upon the altar of that temple at the end of five hundred 
year; for so long he liveth. And at the five hundred years 1 
end, the priests array their altar honestly, and put there- 
upon spices and sulphur vif and other things that will 
burn lightly ; and then the bird phoenix cometh and 
burneth himself to ashes. And the first day next after, 
men find in the ashes a worm ; and the second day next 
after, men find a bird quick and perfect ; and the third 
day next after, he flieth his way. And so there is no more 
birds of that kind in all the world, but it alone, and truly 
that is a great miracle of God. And men may well liken 
that bird unto God, because that there ne is no God but 
one ; and also, that our Lord arose from death to life the 
third day. This bird men see often-time fly in those 
countries ; and he is not mickle more than an eagle. 
And he hath a crest of feathers upon his head more great 


than the peacock hath ; and is neck his yellow after colour 
of an oriel that is a stone well shining ; and his beak is 
coloured blue as ind ; and his wings be of purple colour, 
and his tail is t barred overthwart with green and yellow and 
red. And he is a full fair bird to look upon, against the 
sun, for he shineth full gloriously and nobly. 

Also in Egypt be gardens, that have trees and herbs, 
the which bear fruits seven times in the year. And in 
that land men find many fair emeralds and enough ; and 
therefore they be greater cheap. Also when it raineth 
once in the summer in the land of Egypt, then is all the 
country full of great mires. Also at Cairo, that I spake 
of before, sell men commonly both men and women of 
other laws as we do here beasts in the market. And 
there is a common house in that city that is all full of 
small furnaces, and thither bring women of the town their 
eyren of hens, of geese, and of ducks for to be put into 
those furnaces. And they that keep that house cover 
them with heat of horse dung, without hen, goose or 
duck or any other fowl. And at the end of three weeks 
or of a month they come again and take their chickens 
and nourish them and bring them forth, so that all the 
country is full of them. And so men do there both 
winter and summer. 

Also in that country and in others also, men find long 
apples to sell, in their season, and men clepe them apples 
of Paradise ; and they be right sweet and of good savour. 
And though ye cut them in never so many gobbets or 
parts, overthwart or endlong, evermore ye shall find in 
the midst the figure of the Holy Cross of our Lord Jesu. 
But they will rot within eight days, and for that cause men 
may not carry of those apples to no far countries ; of them 
men find the mountance of a hundred in a basket, and they 
have great leaves of a foot and a half of length, and they 
be convenably large. And men find there also the apple 
tree of Adam, that have a bite at one of the sides ; and 
there be also fig trees that bear no leaves, but figs upon 
the small branches ; and men clepe them figs of Pharaoh. 

Also beside Cairo, without that city, is the field where 


balm groweth ; and it cometh out on small trees, that be none 
higher than to a man's breeks' girdle, and they seem as 
wood that is of the wild vine. And in that field be seven 
wells, that our Lord Jesu Christ made with one of his feet, 
when he went to play with other children. That field is 
not so well closed, but that men may enter at their own 
list ; but in that season that the balm is growing, men put 
thereto good keeping, that no man dare be hardy to enter. 

This balm groweth in no place, but only there. And 
though that men bring of the plants, for to plant in other 
countries, they grow well and fair ; but they bring forth 
no fructuous thing, and the leaves of balm fall not. And 
men cut the branches with a sharp flintstone, or with a 
sharp bone, when men will go to cut them ; for whoso 
cut them with iron, it would destroy his virtue and his 

And the Saracens clepe the wood Enonch-balse, and the 
fruit, the which is as cubebs, they clepe Abebissam, and the 
liquor that droppeth from the branches they clepe Guybalse. 
And men make always that balm to be tilled of the Christian 
men, or else it would not fructify; as the Saracens say 
themselves, for it hath been often-time proved. Men say 
also, that the balm groweth in Ind the more, in that desert 
where Alexander spake to the trees of the sun and of 
the moon, but I have not seen it ; for I have not been so 
far above upward, because that there be too many perilous 

And wit ye well, that a man ought to take good keep 
for to buy balm, but if he con know it right well, for he 
may right lightly be deceived. For men sell a gum, that 
men clepe turpentine, instead of balm, and they put thereto 
a little balm for to give good odour. And some put wax in 
oil of the wood of the fruit of balm, and say that it is balm. 
And some distil cloves of gilofre and of spikenard of Spain 
and of other spices, that be well smelling ; and the liquor 
that goeth out thereof they clepe it balm, and they think 
that they have balm, and they have none. For the Saracens 
counterfeit it by subtlety of craft for to deceive the Christian 
men, as I have seen full many a time ; and after them the 


merchants and the apothecaries counterfeit it eft sones, 
and then it is less worth, and a great deal worse. 

But if it like you, I shall shew how ye shall know and 
prove, to the end that ye shall not be deceived. First ye 
shall well know, that the natural balm is full clear, and of 
citron colour and strongly smelling ; and if it be thick, or 
red or black, it is sophisticate, that is to say, counterfeited 
and made like it for deceit. And understand, that if ye 
will put a little balm in the palm of your hand against the 
sun, if it be fine and good, ye ne shall not suffer your hand 
against the heat of the sun. Also take a little balm with 
the point of a knife, and touch it to the fire, and if it burn 
it is a good sign. After take also a drop of balm, and put 
it into a dish, or in a cup with milk of a goat, and if it be 
natural balm anon it will take and beclippe the milk. Or put 
a drop of balm in clear water in a cup of silver or in a clear 
basin, and stir it well with the clear water ; and if the balm 
be fine and of his own kind, the water shall never trouble; 
and if the balm be sophisticate, that is to say counter- 
feited, the water shall become anon trouble ; and also if 
the balm be fine it shall fall to the bottom of the vessel, as 
though it were quicksilver, for the fine balm is more heavy 
twice than is the balm that is sophisticate and counter- 
feited. Now I have spoken of balm. 

And now also I shall speak of another thing that is beyond 
Babylon, above the flood of the Nile, toward the desert 
between Africa and Egypt ; that is to say, of the garners 
of Joseph, that he let make for to keep the grains for the 
peril of the dear years. And they be made of stone, full 
well made of masons' craft ; of the which two be marvel- 
lously great and high, and the tother ne be not so great. 
And every garner hath a gate for to enter within, a little high 
from the earth ; for the land is wasted and fallen since the 
garners were made. And within they be all full of ser- 
pents. And above the garners without be many scriptures 
of diverse languages. And some men say, that they be 
sepultures of great lords, that were sometime, but that is 
not true, for all the common rumour and speech is of all 
the people there, both far and near, that they be the 


garners of Joseph; and so find they in their scriptures, 
and in their chronicles. On the other part, if they were 
sepultures, they should not be void within, ne they should 
have no gates for to enter within ; for ye may well know, 
that tombs and sepultures be not made of such greatness, 
nor of such highness ; wherefore it is not to believe, that 
they be tombs or sepultures. 

In Egypt also there be diverse languages and diverse 
letters, and of other manner and condition than there be 
in other parts. As I shall devise you, such as they be, and 
the names how they clepe them, to such intent, that ye 
may know the difference of them and of others, Athoimis, 
Bimchi, Chinok, Duram, Eni, Fin, Gomor, Heket, Janny, 
Karacta, Luzanin, Miche, Naryn, Oldach, Pilon, Qyn, 
Yron, Sichen, Thola, Urmron, Yph and Zarm, Thoit. 


Of the Isle of Sicily ; of the way from Babylon to the Mount 
Sinai ; of the Church of Saint Katherine and of all the 
marvels there 

Now will I return again, ere I proceed any further, for to 
declare to you the other ways, that draw toward Babylon, 
where the sultan himself dwelleth, that is at the entry of 
Egypt ; for as much as many folk go thither first and after 
that to the Mount Sinai, and after return to Jerusalem, as I 
have said you here before. For they fulfil first the more long 
pilgrimage, and after return again by the next ways, because 
that the more nigh way is the more worthy, and that is 
Jerusalem ; for no other pilgrimage is not like in com- 
parison to it. But for to fulfil their pilgrimages more 
easily and more sikerly, men go first the longer way rather 
than the nearer way. 

But whoso will go to Babylon by another way, more 
short from the countries of the west that I have rehearsed 


before, or from other countries next to them then men 
go by France, by Burgundy and by Lombardy. It needeth 
not to tell you the names of the cities, nor of the towns 
that be in that way, for the way is common, and it is known 
of many nations. And there be many havens [where] men 
take the sea. Some men take the sea at Genoa, some at 
Venice, and pass by the sea Adriatic, that is clept the Gulf 
of Venice, that departeth Italy and Greece on that side ; 
and some go to Naples, some to Rome, and from Rome to 
Brindisi and there they take the sea, and in many other 
places where that havens be. And men go by Tuscany, 
by Campania, by Calabria, by Apulia, and by the hills of 
Italy, by Corsica, by Sardinia, and by Sicily, that is a great 
isle and a good. 

In that isle of Sicily there is a manner of a garden, in the 
which be many diverse fruits ; and the garden is always 
green and flourishing, all the seasons of the year as well in 
winter as in summer. That isle holds in compass about 
350 French miles. And between Sicily and Italy there is 
not but a little arm of the sea, that men clepe the Farde of 
Messina. And Sicily is between the sea Adriatic and the 
sea of Lombardy. And from Sicily into Calabria is but 
eight miles of Lombardy. 

And in Sicily there is a manner of serpent, by the which 
men assay and prove, whether their children be bastards 
or no, or of lawful marriage : for if they be born in right 
marriage, the serpents go about them, and do them no 
harm, and if they be born in avputry, the serpents bite 
them and envenom them. And thus many wedded men 
prove if the children be their own. 

Also in that isle is the Mount Etna, that men clepe 
Mount Gybelle, and the volcanoes that be evermore 
burning. And there be seven places that burn and that 
cast out diverse flames and diverse colour : and by the 
changing of those flames, men of that country know when 
it shall be dearth or good time, or cold or hot or moist or 
dry, or in all other manners how the time shall be governed. 
And from Italy unto the volcanoes ne is but twenty-five 
mile. And men say, that the volcanoes be ways of hell. 


And whoso goeth by Pisa, if that men list to go that 
way, there is an arm of the sea, where that men go to 
other havens in those marches. And then men pass by the 
isle of Greaf that is at Genoa. And after arrive men 
in Greece at the haven of the city of Myrok, or at the 
haven of Valone, or at the city of Duras ; and there is a 
Duke at Duras, or at other havens in those marches ; and 
so men go to Constantinople. And after go men by water 
to the isle of Crete and to the isle of Rhodes, and so to 
Cyprus, and so to Athens, and from thence to Constanti- 
nople. To hold the more right way by sea, it is well a 
thousand eight hundred and four score mile of Lombardy. 
And after from Cyprus men go by sea, and leave Jerusalem 
and all the country on the left hand, unto Egypt, and arrive 
at the city of Damietta, that was wont to be full strong, 
and it sits at the entry of Egypt. And from Damietta go 
men to the city of Alexandria, that sits also upon the sea. 
In that city was Saint Catherine beheaded : and there was 
Saint Mark the evangelist martyred and buried, but the 
Emperor Leo made his bones to be brought to Venice. 

And yet there is at Alexandria a fair church, all white 
without paintures ; and so be all the other churches that 
were of the Christian men, all white within, for the 
Paynims and the Saracens made them white for to fordo 
the images of saints that were painted on the walls. That 
city of Alexandria is well thirty furlongs in length, but it is 
but ten on largeness ; and it is a full noble city and a fair. 
At that city entereth the river of Nile into the sea, as I to 
you have said before. In that river men find many precious 
stones, and much also of lignum aloes ; and it is a manner 
of wood, that cometh out of Paradise terrestrial, the which 
is good for many diverse medicines, and it is right dear- 
worth. And from Alexandria men go to Babylon, where the 
sultan dwelleth ; that sits also upon the river of Nile : and 
this way is the most short, for to go straight unto Babylon. 

Now shall I say you also the way, that goeth from 
Babylon to the Mount of Sinai, where Saint Catherine 
lieth. He must pass by the deserts of Arabia, by the 
which deserts Moses led the people of Israel. And then 


pass men by the well that Moses made with his hand in 
the deserts, when the people grucched ; for they found 
nothing to drink. And then pass men by the Well of 
Marah, of the which the water was first bitter; but the 
children of Israel put therein a tree, and anon the water 
was sweet and good for to drink. And then go men by 
desert unto the vale of Elim, in the which vale be twelve 
wells; and there be seventy-two trees of palm, that bear 
the dates the which Moses found with the children of 
Israel. And from that valley is but a good journey to the 
Mount of Sinai. 

And whoso will go by another way from Babylon, then 
men go by the Red Sea, that is an arm of the sea Ocean. 
And there passed Moses with the children of Israel, over- 
thwart the sea all dry, when Pharaoh the King of Egypt 
chased them. And that sea is well a six mile of largeness in 
length ; and in that sea was Pharaoh drowned and all his 
host that he led. That sea is not more red than another 
sea ; but in some place thereof is the gravel red, and there- 
fore men clepen it the Red Sea. That sea runneth to the 
ends of Arabia and of Palestine. 

That sea lasteth more than a four journeys, and then go 
men by desert unto the Vale of Elim, and from thence to 
the Mount of Sinai. And ye may well understand, that 
by this desert no man may go on horseback, because that 
there ne is neither meat for horse ne water to drink ; and for 
that cause men pass that desert with camels. For the camel 
finds alway meat in trees and on bushes, that he feedeth 
him with : and he may well fast from drink two days or 
three. And that may no horse do. 

And wit well that from Babylon to the Mount Sinai is 
well a twelve good journeys, and some men make them 
more. And some men hasten them and pain them, and 
therefore they make them less. And always men find 
latiners to go with them in the countries, and further 
beyond, into time that men con the language : and it 
behoveth men to bear victuals with them, that shall dure 
them in those deserts, and other necessaries for to 
live by. 


And the Mount of Sinai is clept the Desert of Sin, that is 
for to say, the bush burning ; because there Moses saw our 
Lord God many times in the form of fire burning upon that 
hill, and also in a bush burning, and spake to him. And 
that was at the foot of the hill. There is an abbey of 
monks, well builded and well closed with gates of iron for 
dread of the wild beasts ; and the monks be Arabians or 
men of Greece. And there [is] a great convent, and all 
they be as hermits, and they drink no wine, but if it be on 
principal feasts ; and they be full devout men, and live 
poorly and simply with joutes and with dates, and they do 
great abstinence and penances. 

There is the Church of Saint Catherine, in the which be 
many lamps burning ; for they have of oil of olives 
enough, both for to burn in their lamps and to eat also. 
And that plenty have they by the miracle of God ; for the 
ravens and the crows and the choughs and other fowls of 
the country assemble them there every year once, and fly 
thither as in pilgrimage ; and everych of them bringeth a 
branch of the bays or of olive in their beaks instead of offer- 
ing, and leave them there ; of the which the monks make 
great plenty of oil. And this is a great marvel. And sith 
that fowls that have no kindly wit or reason go thither to 
seek that glorious Virgin, well more ought men then to 
seek her, and to worship her. 

Also behind the altar of that church is the place where 
Moses saw our Lord God in a burning bush. And when 
the monks enter into that place, they do off both hosen 
and shoon or boots always, because that our Lord said to 
Moses, Do off thy hosen and thy shoon, for the place that 
thou standest on is land holy and blessed. And the 
monks clepe that place Dozoleel, that is to say, the shadow 
of God. And beside the high altar, three degrees of 
height is the fertre of alabaster, where the bones of 
Saint Catherine lie. And the prelate of the monks 
sheweth the relics to the pilgrims, and with an instrument 
of silver he froteth the bones ; and then there goeth out 
a fittle oil, as though it were a manner sweating, that is 
neither like to oil ne to balm, but it is full sweet of smell ; 


and of that they give a little to the pilgrims, for there 
goeth out but little quantity of the liquor. And after 
that they shew the head of Saint Catherine, and the cloth 
that she was wrapped in, that is yet all bloody ; and in that 
same cloth so wrapped, the angels bare her body to the 
Mount Sinai, and there they buried her with it. And then 
they shew the bush, that burned and wasted nought, in the 
which our Lord spake to Moses, and other relics enough. 

Also, when the prelate of the abbey is dead, I have 
understood, by information, that his lamp quencheth. And 
when they choose another prelate, if he be a good man and 
worthy to be prelate, his lamp shall light with the grace 
of God without touching of any man. For everych of 
them hath a lamp by himself, and by their lamps they 
know well when any of them shall die. For when any 
shall die, the light beginneth to change and to wax dim ; 
and if he be chosen to be prelate, and is not worthy, his 
lamp quencheth anon. And other men have told me, that 
he that singeth the mass for the prelate that is dead he 
shall find upon the altar the name written of him that 
shall be prelate chosen. And so upon a day, I asked of 
the monks, both one and other, how this befell. But 
they would not tell me nothing, into the time that I said 
that they should not hide the grace that God did them, 
but that they should publish it to make the people have 
the more devotion, and that they did sin to hide God's 
miracle, as me seemed. For the miracles that God hath 
done and yet doth every day, be the witness of his 
might and of his marvels, as David saith in the Psalter : 
Mirabilia testimonia tua^ Domine, that is to say, * Lord thy 
marvels be thy witness/ And then they told me, both 
one and other, how it befell full many a time, but more 
I might not have of them. 

In that abbey ne entereth not no fly, ne toads ne newts, 
ne such foul venomous beasts, ne lice ne fleas, by the 
miracle of God, and of our Lady. For there were wont 
to be so many such manner of filths, that the monks 
were in will to leave the place and the abbey, and were 
gone from thence upon the mountain above to eschew that 


place ; and our Lady came to them and bade them turn 
again, and from thence forwards never entered such filth 
in that place amongst them, ne never shall enter here- 
after. Also, before the gate is the well, where Moses smote 
the stone, of the which the water came out plenteously. 

From that abbey men go up the mountain of Moses, by 
many degrees. And there men find first a church of our 
Lady, where that she met the monks, when they fled away 
for the vermin above-said. And more high upon that 
mountain is the chapel of Elijah the prophet ; and that 
place they clepe Horeb, whereof holy writ speaketh, Et 
ambulavit in fortitudine cibi illius usque, ad montem Oreb ; 
that is to say, ' And he went in strength of that meat unto the 
hill of God, Horeb. 7 And there nigh is the vine that Saint 
John the Evangelist planted that men clepe raisins of Staphis. 
And a little above is the chapel of Moses, and the rock 
where Moses fled to for dread when he saw our Lord face 
to face. And in that rock is printed the form of his body, 
for he smote so strongly and so hard himself in that rock, 
that all his body was dolven within through the miracle of 
God. And there beside is the place where our Lord took 
to Moses the Ten Commandments of the Law. And there 
is the cave under the rock where Moses dwelt, when he 
fasted forty days and forty nights. But he died in the Land 
of Promission, and no man knoweth where he was buried. 
And from that mountain men pass a great valley for to 
go to another mountain, where Saint Catherine was buried 
of the angels of the Lord. And in that valley is a church 
of forty martyrs, and there sing the monks of the abbey, 
often-time : and that valley is right cold. And after men 
go up the mountain of Saint Catherine, that is more high 
than the mount of Moses; and there, where Saint 
Catherine was buried, is neither church nor chapel, nor 
other dwelling place, but there is an heap of stones about 
the place, where body of her, was put of the angels. 
There was wont to be a chapel, but it was cast down, and 
yet lie the stones there. And albeit that the Collect of 
Saint Catherine says, that it is the place where our Lord 
betaught the Ten Commandments to Moses, and there. 


where the blessed Virgin Saint Catherine was buried, that is 
to understand in one country, or in one place bearing one 
name ; for both that one and that other is clept the mount 
of Sinai. But it is a great way from that one to that other, 
and a great deep valley between them. 


Of the Desert between the Church of Saint Catherine and 
Jerusalem. Of the Dry ^ree\ and how Roses came 
first into the World 

Now, after that men have visited those holy places, then 
will they turn toward Jerusalem. And then will they take 
leave of the monks, and recommend themselves to their 
prayers. And then they give the pilgrims of their victuals 
for to pass with the deserts toward Syria. And those 
deserts dure well a thirteen journeys. 

In that desert dwell many of Arabians, that men clepe 
Bedouins and Ascopards, and they be folk full of all evil 
conditions. And they have none houses, but tents, that 
they make of skins of beasts, as of camels and of other 
beasts that they eat ; and there beneath these they couch 
them and dwell in place where they may find water, as on 
the Red Sea or elsewhere : for in that desert is full great 
default of water, and often-time it falleth that where men 
find water at one time in a place it faileth another time ; 
and for that skill they make none habitations there. 
These folk that I speak of, they till not the land, and they 
labour nought ; for they eat no bread, but if it be any that 
dwell nigh a good town, that go thither and eat bread 
sometime. And they roast their flesh and their fish upon 
the hot stones against the sun. And they be strong men 
and well-fighting ; and there so is much multitude of that 
folk, that they be without number. And they ne 
reck of nothing, ne do not but chase after beasts to eat 


them. And they reck nothing of their life, and therefore 
they fear not the sultan, ne no other prince; but they 
dare well war with them, if they do anything that is 
grievance to them. And they have often-times war with 
the sultan, and, namely, that time that I was with him. And 
they bear but one shield and one spear, without other 
arms ; and they wrap their heads and their necks with a 
great quantity of white linen cloth; and they be right 
felonous and foul, and of cursed kind. 

And when men pass this desert, in coming toward 
Jerusalem, they come to Bersabe (Beersheba), that was 
wont to be a full fair town and a delectable of Christian 
men ; and yet there be some of their churches. In that 
town dwelled Abraham the patriarch, a long time. That 
town of Bersabe founded Bersabe (Bathsheba), the wife 
of Sir Uriah the Knight, on the which King David gat 
Solomon the Wise, that was king after David upon the 
twelve kindreds of Jerusalem and reigned forty year. 

And from thence go men to the city of Hebron, that 
is the mountance of twelve good mile. And it was clept 
sometime the Vale of Mamre, and some-time it was 
clept the Vale of Tears, because that Adam wept there an 
hundred year for the death of Abel his son, that Cain 
slew. Hebron was wont to be the principal city of the 
Philistines, and there dwelled some time the giants. And 
that city was also sacerdotal, that is to say, sanctuary of 
the tribe of Judah ; and it was so free, that men received 
there all manner of fugitives of other places for their evil 
deeds. In Hebron Joshua, Caleb and their company came 
first to aspy, how they might win the land of Behest. In 
Hebron reigned first king David seven year and a half; 
and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three year and a half. 

And in Hebron be all the sepultures of the patriarchs, 
Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and of Jacob ; and of their wives, 
Eve, Sarah and Rebecca, and of Leah ; the which sepultures 
the Saracens keep full curiously, and have the place in great 
reverence for the holy fathers, the patriarchs that lie there. 
And they suffer no Christian man to enter into that place, 
but if it be of special grace of the sultan ; for they hold 


Christian men and Jews as dogs, and they say, that they 
should not enter into so holy place. And men clepe 
that place, where they lie, Double Spelunk, or Double 
Cave, or Double Ditch, forasmuch as that one lieth above 
that other. And the Saracens clepe that place in their 
language, Karicarba, that is to say, ' The Place of 
Patriarchs.* And the Jews clepe that place Arboth. 
And in that same place was Abraham's house, and there 
he sat and saw three persons, and worshipped but one ; 
as holy writ saith, tfres vidit et unum adoravit, that is to 
say, ' He saw three and worshipped one ' : and of those 
same received Abraham the angels into his house. 

And right fast by that place is a cave in the rock, where 
Adam and Eve dwelled when they were put out of 
Paradise ; and there got they their children. And in 
that same place was Adam formed and made, after 
that some men say : (for men were wont for to clepe that 
place the field of Damascus, because that it was in the 
lordship of Damascus), and from thence was he translated 
into Paradise of delights, as they say ; and after that he 
was driven out of Paradise he was there left. And the 
same day that he was put in Paradise, the same day he was 
put out, for anon he sinned. There beginneth the Vale of 
Hebron, that dureth nigh to Jerusalem. There the angel 
commanded Adam that he should dwell with his wife Eve, 
of the which he gat Seth ; of which tribe, that is to say 
kindred, Jesu Christ was born. 

In that valley is a field, where men draw out of the 
earth a thing that men clepe cambile, and they eat it 
instead of spices, and they bear it to sell. And men may 
not make the hole or the cave, where it is taken out of the 
earth, so deep or so wide, but that it is, at the year's end, 
full again up to the sides, through the grace of God. 

And two mile from Hebron is the grave of Lot, that 
was Abraham's brother. 

And a little from Hebron is the mount of Mamre, of 
the which the valley taketh his name. And there is a tree 
of oak, that the Saracens clepe Dirpe, that is of Abraham's 
time : the which men clepe the Dry Tree. And they say 


that it hath been there since the beginning of the world, 
and was some-time green and bare leaves, unto the time 
that our Lord died on the cross, and then it dried : and 
so did all the trees that were then in the world. And 
some say, by their prophecies, that a lord, a prince of the 
west side of the world, shall win the Land of Promission 
that is the Holy Land with help of Christian men, and he 
shall do sing a mass under that dry tree ; and then the 
tree shall wax green and bear both fruit and leaves, and 
through that miracle many Saracens and Jews shall be 
turned to Christian faith : and, therefore, they do great 
worship thereto, and keep it full busily. And, albeit so, 
that it be dry, natheles yet he beareth great virtue, for 
certainly he that hath a little thereof upon him, it healeth 
him of the falling evil, and his horse shall not be a- 
foundered : and many other virtues it hath ; wherefore 
men hold it full precious. 

From Hebron men go to Bethlehem in half a day, for 
it is but five mile; and it is full fair way, by plains and 
woods full delectable. Bethlehem is a little city, long and 
narrow and well walled, and in each side enclosed with 
good ditches : and it was wont to be clept Ephrata, as 
holy writ saith, Ecce, audivimus eum in Ephrata, that is 
to say, ' Lo, we heard him in Ephrata. 1 And toward the 
east end of the city is a full fair church and a gracious, 
and it hath many towers, pinacles and corners, full strong 
and curiously made ; and within that church be forty-four 
pillars of marble, great and fair. 

And between the city and the church is the field Floridus, 
that is to say, the * field flourished.' For as much as a fair 
maiden was blamed with wrong, and slandered that she 
had done fornication ; for which cause she was demned to 
death, and to be burnt in that place, to the which she was 
led. And, as the fire began to burn about her, she made 
her prayers to our Lord, that as wisely as she was not 
guilty of that sin, that he would help her and make it to 
be known to all men, of his merciful grace. And when 
she had thus said, she entered into the fire, and anon was 
the fire quenched and out ; and the brands that were 


burning became red rose-trees, and the brands that were 
not kindled became white rose-trees, full of roses. And 
these were the first rose-trees and roses, both white and 
red, that ever any man saw ; and thus was this maiden 
saved by the grace of God. And therefore is that field 
clept the field of God flourished, for it was full of roses. 

Also beside the choir of the church, at the right side, as 
men come downward sixteen degrees, is the place where our 
Lord was born, that is full well dight of marble, and full 
richly painted with gold, silver, azure and other colours. 
And three paces beside is the crib of the ox and the ass. 
And beside that is the place where the star fell, that led the 
three kings, Jaspar, Melchior and Balthazar : but men 
of Greece clepe them thus, Galgalath, Malgalath, and 
Seraphie, and the Jews clepe them, in this manner, in 
Hebrew, Appelius^ Amerrius, and Damasus. These three 
kings offered to our Lord, gold, incense and myrrh, and 
they met together through miracle of God ; for they 
met together in a city in Ind, that men clepe Cassak, 
that is a fifty-three journeys from Bethlehem ; and they 
were at Bethlehem the thirteenth day ; and that was the 
fourth day after that they had seen the star, when they met 
in that city, and thus they were in nine days from that 
city at Bethlehem, and that was great miracle. 

Also, under the cloister of the church, by eighteen 
degrees at the right side, is the charnel of the Innocents, 
where their bones lie. And before the place where our 
Lord was born is the tomb of Saint Jerome, that was a 
priest and a cardinal, that translated the Bible and the 
Psalter from Hebrew into Latin : and without the minster 
is the chair that he sat in when he translated it. And fast 
beside that church, a sixty fathom, is a church of Saint 
Nicholas, where our Lady rested her after she was lighted 
of our Lord ; and forasmuch as she had too much milk in 
her paps, that grieved her, she milked them on the red 
stones of marble, so that the traces may yet be seen, in the 
stones, all white. 

And ye shall understand, that all that dwell in Bethlehem 
be Christian men. 


And there be fair vines about the city, and great plenty 
of wine, that the Christian men have do let make. But 
the Saracens ne till not no vines, ne they drink no wine : 
for their books of their law, that Mahomet betoke them, 
which they clepe their Al Koran , and some clepe it Mesaph, 
and in another language it is clept Harme, and the same 
book forbiddeth them to drink wine. For in that book, 
Mahomet cursed all those that drink wine and all them 
that sell it : for some men say, that he slew once an hermit 
in his drunkenness, that he loved full well ; and therefore 
he cursed wine and them that drink it. But his curse be 
turned on to his own head, as holy writ saith, Et in 
verticem ipsius iniquitas ejus descendet, that is for to say, 
'His wickedness shall turn and fall in his own head/ 

And also the Saracens bring forth no pigs, nor they eat 
no swine's flesh, for they say it is brother to man, 
and it was forbidden by the old law ; and they hold 
him all accursed that eat thereof. Also in the land of 
Palestine and in the land of Egypt, they eat but little 
or none of flesh of veal or of beef, but if be so old, 
that he may no more travel for old ; for it is for- 
bidden, and for because they have but few of them ; there- 
fore they nourish them for to ere their lands. 

In this city of Bethlehem was David the king born ; and 
he had sixty wives, and the first wife was called Michal ; 
and also he had three hundred lemans. 

And from Bethlehem unto Jerusalem is but two mile ; 
and in the way to Jerusalem half a mile from Bethlehem 
is a church, where the angel said to the shepherds of 
the birth of Christ. And in that way is the tomb of 
Rachel, that was Joseph's mother, the patriarch ; and she 
died anon after that she was delivered of her son Benjamin. 
And there she was buried of Jacob her husband, and he let 
set twelve great stones on her, in token that she had born 
twelve children. In the same way, half mile from Jeru- 
salem, appeared the star to the three kings. In that way 
also be many churches of Christian men, by the which 
men go towards the city of Jerusalem. 



Of the Pilgrimages in Jerusalem, and of the Holy 
Places thereabout 

AFTER, for to speak of Jerusalem the holy city : ye shall 
understand, that it stands full fair between hills, and there 
be no rivers ne wells, but water cometh by conduit from 
Hebron. And ye shall understand, that Jerusalem of old 
time, unto the time of Melchisadech, was clept Jebus ; and 
after it was clept Salem, unto the time of King David, 
that put these two names together, and clept it Jerusalem ; 
and after that, King Solomon clept it Jerosolomye ; and 
after that, men clept it Jerusalem, and so it is clept yet. 

And about Jerusalem is the kingdom of Syria. And 
there beside is the land of Palestine, and beside it is 
Ascalon, and beside that is the land of Maritaine. But 
Jerusalem is in the land of Judea, and it is clept Judea, for 
that Judas Maccabeus was king of that country ; and it 
marcheth eastward to the kingdom of Arabia ; on the 
south side to the land of Egypt; and on the west side 
to the Great Sea ; on the north side, towards the kingdom 
of Syria and to the sea of Cyprus. In Jerusalem was 
wont to be a patriarch ; and archbishops and bishops about 
in the country. About Jerusalem be these cities : Hebron, 
at seven mile ; Jericho, at six mile ; Beersheba, at eight mile ; 
Ascalon, at seventeen mile ; Jaffa, at sixteen mile ; Ramath, 
at three mile; and Bethlehem, at two mile. And a two 
mile from Bethlehem, toward the south, is the Church 
of St. Karitot, that was abbot there, for whom they made 
much dole amongst the monks when he should die; and 
yet they be in mourning in the wise that they made their 
lamentation for him the first time ; and it is full great 
pity to behold. 

This country and land of Jerusalem hath been in many 
divers nations' hands, and often, therefore, hath the 
country suffered much tribulation for the sin of the 


people that dwell there. For that country hath been in 
the hands of all nations ; that is to say, of Jews, of 
Canaanites, Assyrians, Persians, Medes, Macedonians, of 
Greeks, Romans, of Christian men, of Saracens, Barbarians, 
Turks, Tartars, and of many other divers nations ; for 
God will not that it be long in the hands of traitors ne of 
sinners, be they Christian or other. And now have the 
heathen men held that land in their hands forty year and 
more ; but they shall not hold it long, if God will. 

And ye shall understand, that when men come to 
Jerusalem, their first pilgrimage is to the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre, where our Lord was buried, that is 
without the city on the north side ; but it is now enclosed 
in with the town wall. And there is a full fair church, 
all round, and open above, and covered with lead ; and on 
the west side is a fair tower and an high for bells, strongly 

And in the midst of the church is a tabernacle, as it 
were a little house, made with a low little door, and that 
tabernacle is made in manner of half a compass, right 
curiously and richly made of gold and azure and other rich 
colours full nobly made. And in the right side of that 
tabernacle is the sepulchre of our Lord ; and the tabernacle 
is eight foot long, and five foot wide, and eleven foot in 
height. And it is not long sith the sepulchre was all open, 
that men might kiss it and touch it ; but for pilgrims 
that came thither pained them to break the stone in pieces 
or in powder, therefore the soldan hath do make a wall 
about the sepulchre that no man may touch it : but in 
the left side of the wall of the tabernacle is, well the height 
of a man, a great stone to the quantity of a man's head, 
that was of the holy sepulchre ; and that stone kiss the 
pilgrims that come thither. In that tabernacle be no 
windows, but it is all made light with lamps that hang 
before the sepulchre. And there is a lamp that hangeth 
before the sepulchre, that burneth light ; and on the 
Good Friday it goeth out by himself, [and lighteth again 
by him self] at that hour that our Lord rose from death 
to life. 


Also within the church, at the right side, beside the 
choir of the church, is the mount of Calvary, where our 
Lord was put on the cross ; and it is a rock of white colour 
and a little medled with red. And the cross was set in a 
mortise in the same rock. And on that rock dropped the 
wounds of our Lord when he was pined on the cross. 
And that is clept Golgotha. 

And men go up to that Golgotha by degrees ; and in 
the place of that mortise was Adam's head found after 
Noah's flood, in token that the sins of Adam should be 
bought in that same place. And upon that rock made 
Abraham sacrifice to our Lord. And there is an altar; 
and before that altar lie Godefray de Bouillon and Baldwin, 
and other Christian kings of Jerusalem. 

And there, nigh where our Lord was crucified, is this 
written in Greek : 

+ '0 0eo9 Bao-tXeu? q/Jiwv rrpo CLLWVODV eipyda-aro (rwrriplav ev 
jmearw Ttjs yfjs ; 

that is to say, in Latin, 

"Deus Rex noster ante secula operatus est salutem^ in medio 

that is to say, 

'This God our King, before the worlds, hath wrought health 
in midst of the earth. 

And also on that rock, where the cross was set, is 
written within the rock these words : 

t etSeis, ecrri /3d<n$ T?? Trio-Tews o\rj$ TOV KOO-JULOV TOVTOV ; 
that is to say, in Latin, 

Quod vides, est fundamentum totiu s fidei mundi hujus ; 
that is to say, 

1" That thou seest, is the ground of all the faith of this world. 

And ye shall understand, that when our Lord was done 
upon the cross, he was thirty-three year and three months 
of old. And the prophecy of David saith thus : Quad- 
raginta annis froximus fui generationi huic ; that is to say, 


' Forty year was I neighbour to this kindred.' And thus 
should it seem that the prophecies were not true. But they 
be both true ; for in old time men made a year of ten 
months, of the which March was the first and December was 
the last. But Gaius, that was Emperor of Rome, put these 
two months thereto, January and February, and ordained 
the year of twelve months ; that is to say, 365 days, without 
leap year, after the proper course of the sun. And there- 
fore, after counting of ten months of the year, he died in the 
fortieth year, as the prophet said. And after the year of 
twelve months, he was of age thirty-three year and three 

Also, within the mount of Calvary, on the right side, is 
an altar, where the pillar lieth that our Lord Jesu was 
bounden to when he was scourged. And there beside be 
four pillars of stone, that always drop water; and some 
men say that they weep for our Lord's death. And nigh 
that altar is a place under earth forty-two degrees of deep- 
ness, where the holy cross was found, by the wit of Saint 
Helen, under a rock where the Jews had hid it. And that 
was the very cross assayed ; for they found three crosses, one 
of our Lord, and two of the two thieves ; and Saint Helen 
proved them by a dead body that arose from death to life, 
when that it was laid on it, that our Lord died on. And 
thereby in the wall is the place where the four nails of our 
Lord were hid : for he had two in his hands and two in 
his feet. And, of one of these, the Emperor of Con- 
stantinople made a bridle to his horse to bear him in 
battle; and, through virtue thereof, he overcame his 
enemies, and won all the land of Asia the less, that is to 
say, Turkey, Armenia the less and the more, and from 
Syria to Jerusalem, from Arabia to Persia, from Meso- 
potamia to the kingdom of Aleppo, from Egypt the high 
and the low and all the other kingdoms unto the depth of 
Ethiopia, and into Ind the less that then was Christian. 

And there were in that time many good holy men 
and holy hermits, of whom the book of Fathers' lives 
speaketh, and they be now in Paynims' and Saracens' 
hands : but when God Almighty will, right as the lands 


were lost through sin of Christian men, so shall they be 
won again by Christian men through help of God. 

And in midst of that church is a compass, in the which 
Joseph of Arimathea laid the body of our Lord when he 
had taken him down off the cross ; and there he washed 
the wounds of our Lord. And that compass, say men, is 
the midst of the world. 

And in the church of the sepulchre, on the north side, is 
the place where our Lord was put in prison (for he was 
in prison in many places); and there is a part of the chain 
that he was bounden with ; and there he appeared first to 
Mary Magdalene when he was risen, and she wend that he 
had been a gardener. 

In the church of Saint Sepulchre was wont to be canons 
of the order of Saint Augustine, and had a prior, but the 
patriarch was their sovereign. 

And without the doors of the church, on the right side 
as men go upward eighteen grees, said our Lord to his 
mother, Mu/ier, ecce Filius turn ; that is to say, Woman, lo ! 
thy Son ! And after that he said to John, his disciple, 
Ecce mater tua\ that is to say, Lo! behold thy mother! 
And these words he said on the cross. And on these grees 
went our Lord when he bare the cross on his shoulder. 
And under these grees is a chapel, and in that chapel sing 
priests, Indians, that is to say, priests of Ind, not after our 
law, but after theirs ; and alway they make their sacrament 
of the altar, saying, Pater Noster and other prayers there- 
with ; with the which prayers they say the words that the 
sacrament is made of, for they ne know not the additions 
that many popes have made ; but they sing with good devo- 
tion. And there near, is the place where that our Lord 
rested him when he was weary for bearing of the cross. 

And ye shall understand that before the church of the 
sepulchre is the city more feeble than in any other part, for 
the great plain that is between the church and the city. 
And toward the east side, without the walls of the city, is 
the vale of Jehosaphat that toucheth to the walls as though 
it were a large ditch. And above that vale of Jehosaphat, 
out of the city, is the church of Saint Stephen where he was 


stoned to death. And there beside, is the Golden Gate, 
that may not be opened, by the which gate our Lord 
entered on Palm-Sunday upon an ass : and the gate opened 
against him when he would go unto the temple; and yet 
appear the steps of the ass's feet in three places of the 
degrees that be of full hard stone. 

And before the church of Saint Sepulchre, toward the 
south, at 200 paces, is the great hospital of Saint John, of 
which the hospitallers had their foundation. And within 
the palace of the sick men of that hospital be 1 24 pillars of 
stone. And in the walls of the house, without the number 
above-said, there be fifty-four pillars that bear up the house. 
And from that hospital to go toward the east is a full fair 
church, that is clept Notre Dame la Grande. And then is 
there another church right nigh, that is clept Notre Dame 
de Latine. And there were Mary Cleophas and Mary 
Magdalene, and tore their hair when our Lord was pained 
in the cross. 


Of the Temple of our Lord. Of the Cruelty of King Herod. 
Of the Mount Sion. Of Probatica Piscina ; and of 
Natatorium Siloe 

AND from the church of the sepulchre, toward the east, at 
eight score paces, is Templum Domini. It is right a fair house, 
and it is all round and high, and covered with lead. And 
it is well paved with white marble. But the Saracens will 
not suffer no Christian man ne Jews to come therein, for 
they say that none so foul sinful men should not come in 
so holy place : but I came in there and in other places 
there I would, for I had letters of the soldan with his 
great seal, and commonly other men have but his signet. 
In the which letters he commanded, of his special grace, to 
all his subjects, to let me see all the places, and to inform 
me pleinly all the mysteries of every place, and to con- 


duct me from city to city, if it were need, and buxomly 
to receive me and my company, and for to obey to all my 
requests reasonable if they were not greatly against the 
royal power and dignity of the soldan or of his law. And 
to others, that ask him grace, such as have served him, he ne 
giveth not but his signet, the which they make to be borne 
before them hanging on a spear. And the folk of the 
country do great worship and reverence to his signet or 
seal, and kneel thereto as lowly as we do to Corpus Domini. 
And yet men do full greater reverence to his letters ; for 
the admiral and all other lords that they be shewed to, 
before or they receive them, they kneel down ; and then 
they take them and put them on their heads ; and after, 
they kiss them and then they read them, kneeling with 
great reverence ; and then they offer them to do all that 
the bearer asketh. 

And in this Templum Domini were some-time canons 
regulars, and they had an abbot to whom they were 
obedient ; and in this temple was Charlemagne when that 
the angel brought him the prepuce of our Lord Jesus 
Christ of his circumcision ; and after, King Charles let 
bring it to Paris into his chapel, and after that he let bring 
it to Peyteres, and after that to Chartres. 

And ye shall understand, that this is not the temple that 
Solomon made, for that temple dured not but 1102 year. 
For Titus, Vespasian's son, Emperor of Rome, had laid 
siege about Jerusalem for to discomfit the Jews ; for they 
put our Lord to death, without leave of the emperor. 
And, when he had won the city, he burnt the temple and 
beat it down, and all the city, and took the Jews and did 
them to death 1,100,000 ; and the others he put in 
prison and sold them to servage, thirty for one penny ; 
for they said they bought Jesu for thirty pennies, and he 
made of them better cheap when he gave thirty for one 

And after that time, Julian Apostate, that was emperor, 
gave leave to the Jews to make the temple of Jerusalem, 
for he hated Christian men. And yet he was christened, 
but he forsook his law, and became a renegade. And 


when the Jews had made the temple, came an earthquaking, 
and cast it down (as God would) and destroyed all that 
they had made. 

And after that, Adrian, that was Emperor of Rome, 
and of the lineage of Troy, made Jerusalem again and the 
temple in the same manner as Solomon made it. And he 
would not suffer no Jews to dwell there, but only Christian 
men. For although it were so that he was not christened, 
yet he loved Christian men more than any other nation 
save his own. This emperor let enclose the church of 
Saint Sepulchre, and walled it within the city; that, before, 
was without the city, long time before. And he would 
have changed the name of Jerusalem, and have clept it 
Aelia ; but that name lasted not long. 

Also, ye shall understand, that the Saracens do much 
reverence to that temple, and they say, that that place is 
right holy. And when they go in they go bare-foot, and 
kneel many times. And when my fellows and I saw that, 
when we came in we did off our shoes and came in bare- 
foot, and thought that we should do as much worship and 
reverence thereto, as any of the misbelieving men should, 
and as great compunction in heart to have. 

This temple is sixty-four cubits of wideness, and as 
many in length ; and of height it is six score cubits. And 
it is within, all about, made with pillars of marble. And in 
the middle place of the temple be many high stages, of 
fourteen degrees of height, made with good pillars all 
about : and this place the Jews call Sancta Sanctorum ; that 
is to say, ' Holy of Hallows.' And, in that place, cometh 
no man save only their prelate, that maketh their sacrifice. 
And the folk stand all about, in diverse stages, after they 
be of dignity or of worship, so that they all may see the 
sacrifice. And in that temple be four entries, and the 
gates be of cypress, well made and curiously dight : and 
within the east gate our Lord said, ' Here is Jerusalem/ 
And in the north side of that temple, within the gate, 
there is a well, but it runneth nought, of the which holy 
writ speaketh of and saith, Vidi aquam egredientem de templo ; 
that is to say, ' I saw water come out of the temple.* 


And on that other side of the temple there is a rock 
that men clepe Moriach, but after it was clept Bethel, where 
the ark of God with relics of Jews were wont to be put. 
That ark or hutch with the relics Titus led with him to 
Rome, when he had discomfited all the Jews. In that ark 
were the Ten Commandments, and of Aaron's yard, and 
Moses' yard with the which he made the Red Sea depart, 
as it had been a wall, on the right side and on the left side, 
whiles that the people of Israel passed the sea dry-foot : 
and with that yard he smote the rock, and the water came 
out of it : and with that yard he did many wonders. 
And therein was a vessel of gold full of manna, and 
clothing and ornaments and the tabernacle of Aaron, and 
a tabernacle square of gold with twelve precious stones, 
and a box of jasper green with four figures and eight 
names of our Lord, and seven candlesticks of gold, and 
twelve pots of gold, and four censers of gold, and an altar 
of gold, and four lions of gold upon the which they bare 
cherubin of gold twelve spans long, and the circle of 
swans of heaven with a tabernacle of gold and a table of 
silver, and two trumps of silver, and seven barley loaves 
and all the other relics that were before the birth of our 
Lord Jesu Christ. 

And upon that rock was Jacob sleeping when he saw the 
angels go up and down by a ladder, and he said, Vere locus 
iste sanctus est, et ego ignorabam ; that is to say, ' Forsooth 
this place is holy, and I wist it nought.' And there an 
angel held Jacob still, and turned his name, and clept him 
Israel. And in that same place David saw the angel that 
smote the folk with a sword, and put it up bloody in the 
sheath. And in that same rock was Saint Simeon when he 
received our Lord into the temple. And in this rock he 
set him when the Jews would have stoned him ; and a star 
came down and gave him light. And upon that rock 
preached our Lord often-time to the people. And out that 
said temple our Lord drove out the buyers and the sellers. 
And upon that rock our Lord set him when the Jews 
would have stoned him ; and the rock clave in two, and in 
that cleaving was our Lord hid, and there came down a 


star and gave light and served him with clarity. And 
upon that rock sat our Lady, and learned her psalter. 
And there our Lord forgave the woman her sins, that was 
found in avowtry. And there was our Lord circumcised. 
And there the angels shewed tidings to Zacharias of the 
birth of Saint Baptist his son. And there offered first 
Melchisadech bread and wine to our Lord, in token of the 
sacrament that was to come. And there fell David praying 
to our Lord and to the angel that smote the people, that 
he would have mercy on him and on the people : and our 
Lord heard his prayer, and therefore would he make the 
temple in that place, but our Lord forbade him by an 
angel ; for he had done treason when he let slay Uriah the 
worthy knight, for to have Bathsheba his wife. And 
therefore, all the purveyance that he had ordained to make 
the temple with he took it Solomon his son, and he made it. 
And he prayed our Lord, that all those that prayed to him 
in that place with good heart that he would hear their 
prayer and grant it them if they asked it rightfully : and 
our Lord granted it him, and therefore Solomon clept that 
temple the Temple of Counsel and of Help of God. 

And without the gate of that temple is an altar where 
Jews were in wont to offer doves and turtles. And 
between the temple and that altar was Zacharias slain. 
And upon the pinnacle of that temple was our Lord 
brought for to be tempted of the enemy, the fiend. And 
on the height of that pinnacle the Jews set Saint James, and 
cast him down to the earth, that first was Bishop of 
Jerusalem. And at the entry of that temple, toward the 
west, is the gate that is clept Porta Speciosa. And nigh 
beside that temple, upon the right side, is a church, covered 
with lead, that is clept Solomon's School. 

And from that temple towards the south, right nigh, is 
the temple of Solomon, that is right fair and well polished. 
And in that temple dwell the Knights of the Temple that 
were wont to be clept Templars ; and that was the founda- 
tion of their order, so that there dwelled knights and in 
Templo Domini canons regulars. 

From that temple toward the east, a six score paces, in 


the corner of the city, is the bath of our Lord ; and in 
that bath was wont to come water from Paradise, and yet 
it droppeth. And there beside is our Lady's bed. And 
fast by is the temple of Saint Simeon, and without the 
cloister of the temple, toward the north, is a full fair 
church of Saint Anne, our Lady's mother ; and there was 
our Lady conceived ; and before that church is a great tree 
that began to grow the same night. And under that 
church, in going down by twenty-two degrees, lieth Joachim, 
our Lady's father, in a fair tomb of stone ; and there 
beside lay some-time Saint Anne, his wife ; but Saint Helen 
let translate her to Constantinople. And in that church 
is a well, in manner of a cistern, that is clept Probatica 
Piscina, that hath five entries. Into that well angels were 
wont to come from heaven and bathe them within. And 
what man, that first bathed him after the moving of the 
water, was made whole of what manner of sickness that he 
had. And there our Lord healed a man of the palsy that 
lay thirty-eight year, and our Lord said to him, 'Tolle 
grabatum tuum et ambula, that is to say, 'Take thy bed 
and go. 7 And there beside was Pilate's house. 

And fast by is King Herod's house, that let slay the 
innocents. This Herod was over-much cursed and cruel. 
For first he let slay his wife that he loved right well ; and 
for the passing love that he had to her when he saw 
her dead, he fell in a rage and out of his wit a great while ; 
and sithen he came again to his wit. And after he let 
slay his two sons that he had of that wife. And after 
that he let slay another of his wives, and a son that he had 
with her. And after that he let slay his own mother ; and 
he would have slain his brother also, but he died suddenly. 
And after that he did all the harm that he could or might. 
And after he fell into sickness ; and when he felt that he 
should die, he sent after his sister and after all the lords 
of his land ; and when they were come he let command 
them to prison. And then he said to his sister, he wist well 
that men of the country would make no sorrow for his 
death; and therefore he made his sister swear that she should 
let smite off all the heads of the lords when he were dead ; 


and then should all the land make sorrow for his death, and 
else, nought ; and thus he made his testament. But his 
sister fulfilled not his will. For, as soon as he was dead, 
she delivered all the lords out of prison and let them go, 
each lord to his own, and told them all the purpose of 
her brother's ordinance. And so was this cursed king 
never made sorrow for, as he supposed for to have been. 
And ye shall understand, that in that time there were three 
Herods, of great name and fame for their cruelty. This 
Herod, of which I have spoken of was Herod Ascalonite ; 
and he that let behead Saint John the Baptist was Herod 
Antipas ; and he that let smite off Saint James's head was 
Herod Agrippa, and he put Saint Peter in prison. 

Also, furthermore, in the city is the church of Saint 
Saviour ; and there is the left arm of John Chrisostome, 
and the more part of the head of Saint Stephen. And 
on that other side in the street, toward the south as 
men go to Mount Sion, is a church of Saint James, where 
he was beheaded. 

And from that church, a six score paces, is the Mount Sion. 
And there is a fair church of our Lady, where she dwelled ; 
and there she died. And there was wont to be an abbot 
of canons regulars. And from thence was she borne of the 
apostles unto the vale of Jehosaphat. And there is the 
stone that the angel brought to our Lord from the mount 
of Sinai, and it is of that colour that the rock is of 
Saint Catherine. And there beside is the gate where 
through our Lady went, when she was with child, when 
she went to Bethlehem. Also at the entry of the Mount 
Sion is a chapel. And in that chapel is the stone, great and 
large, with the which the sepulchre was covered with, when 
Joseph of Arimathea had put our Lord therein ; the which 
stone the three Marys saw turn upward when they came 
to the sepulchre the day of his resurrection, and there 
found an angel that told them of our Lord's uprising 
from death to life. And there also is a stone in the wall, 
beside the gate, of the pillar that our Lord was scourged at. 
And there was Annas's house, that was bishop of the Jews 
in that time. And there was our Lord examined in the 


night, and scourged and smitten and villainous entreated. 
And in that same place Saint Peter forsook our Lord 
thrice or the cock crew. And there is a part of the 
table that he made his supper on, when he made his 
maundy with his disciples, when he gave them his flesh and 
his blood in form of bread and wine. 

And under that chapel, thirty-two degrees, is the place 
where our Lord washed his disciples' feet, and yet is 
the vessel where the water was. And there beside that 
same vessel was Saint Stephen buried. And there is the 
altar where our Lady heard the angels sing mass. And 
there appeared first our Lord to his disciples after his 
resurrection, the gates enclosed, and said to them, Pax 
vobis ! that is to say, ' Peace to you ! ' And on that 
mount appeared Christ to Saint Thomas the apostle and 
bade him assay his wounds ; and then believed he first, 
and said, Dominus meus et Deus meusl that is to say ' My 
Lord and my God ! ' In the same church, beside the altar, 
were all the apostles on Whitsunday, when the Holy 
Ghost descended on them in likeness of fire. And there 
made our Lord his pasque with his disciples. And there 
slept Saint John the evangelist upon the breast of our Lord 
Jesu Christ, and saw sleeping many heavenly privities. 

Mount Sion is within the city, and it is a little higher 
than the other side of the city ; and the city is stronger on 
that side than on that other side. For at the foot of the 
Mount Sion is a fair castle and a strong that the soldan let 
make. In the Mount Sion were buried King David and 
King Solomon, and many other kings, Jews of Jerusalem. 
And there is the place where the Jews would have cast up 
the body of our Lady when the apostles bare the body to be 
buried in the vale of Jehosaphat. And there is the place 
where Saint Peter wept full tenderly after that he had 
forsaken our Lord. And a stone's cast from that chapel 
is another chapel, where our Lord was judged, for that 
time was there Caiaphas's house. From that chapel, to go 
toward the east, at seven score paces, is a deep cave under 
the rock, that is clept the Galilee of our Lord, where 
Saint Peter hid him when he had forsaken our Lord. Item, 


between the Mount Sion and the Temple of Solomon is 
the place where our Lord raised the maiden in her father's 

Under the Mount Sion, toward the vale of Jehosaphat, 
is a well that is clept Natatorium Siloe. And there was our 
Lord washed after his baptism ; and there made our Lord 
the blind man to see. And there was y-buried Isaiah the 
prophet. Also, straight from Natatorium Siloe, is an 
image, of stone and of old ancient work, that Absalom let 
make, and because thereof men clepe it the hand of 
Absalom. And fast by is yet the tree of elder that Judas 
hanged himself upon, for despair that he had, when he sold 
and betrayed our Lord. And there beside was the 
synagogue, where the bishops of Jews and the + Pharisees 
came together and held their council ; and there cast 
Judas the thirty pence before them, and said that he had 
sinned betraying our Lord. And there nigh was the 
house of the apostles Philip and Jacob Alphei. And on 
that other side of Mount Sion, toward the south, beyond 
the vale a stone's cast, is Aceldama ; that is to say, the 
field of blood, that was bought for the thirty pence, that 
our Lord was sold for. And in that field be many tombs 
of Christian men, for there be many pilgrims graven. 
And there be many oratories, chapels and hermitages, 
where hermits were wont to dwell. And toward the east, 
an hundred paces, is the charnel of the hospital of Saint 
John, where men were wont to put the bones of dead 

Also from Jerusalem, toward the west, is a fair church, 
where the tree of the cross grew. And two mile from 
thence is a fair church, where our Lady met with Elizabeth, 
when they were both with child ; and Saint John stirred in 
his mother's womb, and made reverence to his Creator 
that he saw not. And under the altar of that church is 
the place where Saint John was born. And from that 
church is a mile to the castle of Emmaus : and there also 
our Lord shewed him to two of his disciples after his 
resurrection. Also on that other side, 200 paces from 
Jerusalem, is a church, where was wont to be the cave 


of the lion. And under that church, at thirty degrees of 
deepness, were interred 12,000 martyrs, in the time of 
King Cosdroe that the lion met with, all in a night, by 
the will of God. 

Also from Jerusalem, two mile, is the Mount Joy, a 
full fair place and a delicious ; and there lieth Samuel the 
prophet in a fair tomb. And men clepe it Mount Joy, for 
it giveth joy to pilgrims' hearts, because that there men 
see first Jerusalem. 

Also between Jerusalem and the mount of Olivet is the 
vale of Jehosaphat, under the walls of the city, as I have 
said before. And in the midst of the vale is a little river 
that men clepe Torrent Cedron^ and above it, overthwart, 
lay a tree (that the cross was made of) that men yede over 
on. And fast by it is a little pit in the earth, where the 
foot of the pillar is yet interred ; and there was our Lord 
first scourged, for he was scourged and villainously en- 
treated in many places. Also in the middle place of the 
vale of Jehosaphat is the church of our Lady : and it is of 
forty-three degrees under the earth unto the sepulchre of 
our Lady. And our Lady was of age, when she died, 
seventy-two year. And beside the sepulchre of our Lady is 
an altar, where our Lord forgave Saint Peter all his sins. 
And from thence, toward the west, under an altar, is a 
well that cometh out of the river of Paradise. And wit 
well, that that church is full low in the earth, and some is 
all within the earth. But I suppose well, that it was not 
so founded. But for because that Jerusalem hath often- 
time been destroyed and the walls abated and beten down 
and tumbled into the vale, and that they have been so 
filled again and the ground enhanced ; and for that skill is 
the church so low within the earth. And, natheles, 
men say there commonly, that the earth hath so been 
cloven sith the time that our Lady was there buried ; and 
yet men say there, that it waxeth and groweth every day, 
without doubt. In that church were wont to be monks 
black, that had their abbot. 

And beside that church is a chapel, beside the rock that 
hight Gethsemane. And there was our Lord kissed of 


Judas ; and there was he taken of the Jews. And there 
left our Lord his disciples, when he went to pray before 
his passion, when he prayed and said, Pater , si fieri potest, 
transeat a me calix iste ; that is to say, ' Father, if it may 
be, do let this chalice go from me ' : and, when he came 
again to his disciples, he found them sleeping. And in 
the rock within the chapel yet appear the fingers of our 
Lord's hand, when he put them in the rock, when the 
Jews would have taken him. 

And from thence, a stone's cast towards the south, is 
another chapel, where our Lord sweat drops of blood. 
And there, right nigh, is the tomb of King Jehosaphat, of 
whom the vale beareth the name. This Jehosaphat was 
king of that country, and was converted by an hermit, that 
was a worthy man and did much good. And from thence, 
a bow draught towards the south, is the church, where 
Saint James and Zachariah the prophet were buried. 

And above the vale is the mount of Olivet; and it is 
clept so for the plenty of olives that grow there. That 
mount is more high than the city of Jerusalem is ; and, 
therefore, may men upon that mount see many of the 
streets of the city. And between that mount and the city 
is not but the vale of Jehosaphat that is not full large. 
And from that mount styed our Lord Jesu Christ to 
heaven upon Ascension Day; and yet there sheweth the 
shape of his left foot in the stone. And there is a church 
where was wont to be an abbot and canons regulars. And 
a little thence, twenty-eight paces, is a chapel ; and therein 
is the stone on the which our Lord sat, when he preached 
the eight blessings and said thus : Beati pauperes spiritu : 
and there he taught his disciples the Pater Noster; and 
wrote with his finger in a stone. And there nigh is a 
church of Saint Mary Egyptian, and there she lieth in 
a tomb. And from thence toward the east, a three bow 
shot, is Bethphage, to the which our Lord sent Saint Peter 
and Saint James for to seek the ass upon Palm-Sunday, 
and rode upon that ass to Jerusalem. 

And in coming down from the mount of Olivet, toward 
the east, is a castle that is clept Bethany. And there dwelt 


Simon leprous, and there harboured our Lord : and after 
he was baptised of the apostles and was clept Julian, and 
was made bishop ; and this is the same Julian that men 
clepe to for good harbourage, for our Lord harboured with 
him in his house. And in that house our Lord forgave 
Mary Magdalene her sins : there she washed his feet 
with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. And there 
served Saint Martha our Lord. There our Lord raised 
Lazarus from death to life, that was dead four days and 
stank, that was brother to Mary Magdalene and to Martha. 
And there dwelt also Mary Cleophas. That castle is well 
a mile long from Jerusalem. Also in coming down from 
the mount of Olivet is the place where our Lord wept 
upon Jerusalem. And there beside is the place where our 
Lady appeared to Saint Thomas the apostle after her 
assumption, and gave him her girdle. And right nigh is 
the stone where our Lord often-time sat upon when he 
preached ; and upon that same he shall sit at the day of 
doom, right as himself said. 

Also after the mount of Olivet is the mount of Galilee. 
There assembled the apostles when Mary Magdalene came 
and told them of Christ's uprising. And there, between 
the Mount Olivet and the Mount Galilee, is a church, where 
the angel said to our Lady of her death. 

Also from Bethany to Jericho was sometime a little city, 
but it is now all destroyed, and now is there but a little 
village. That city took Joshua by miracle of God and 
commandment of the angel, and destroyed it, and cursed it 
and all them that bigged it again. Of that city was Zaccheus 
the dwarf that clomb up into the sycamore tree for to see 
our Lord, because he was so little he might not see him 
for the people. And of that city was Rahab the common 
woman that escaped alone with them of her lineage : and 
she often-time refreshed and fed the messengers of Israel, 
and kept them from many great perils of death ; and, 
therefore, she had good reward, as holy writ saith : Qui 
accipit prophetam in nomine meo, mercedem prophetae acdpiet; 
that is to say, * He that taketh a prophet in my name, he 
shall take meed of the prophet.' And so had she. For 



she prophesied to the messengers, saying, Novi quod 
Dominus tradet vobis terram hanc ; that is to say, c I wot 
well, that our Lord shall betake you this land ' : and so 
he did. And after, Salomon, Naasson's son, wedded her, 
and from that time was she a worthy woman, and served 
God well. 

Also from Bethany go men to flom Jordan by a 
mountain and through desert. And it is nigh a day 
journey from Bethany, toward the east, to a great hill, 
where our Lord fasted forty days. Upon that hill the 
enemy of hell bare our Lord and tempted him, and said, 
Die ut lapides isti panes fiant\ that is to say, ' Say, that 
these stones be made loaves.' In that place, upon the hill, 
was wont to be a fair church ; but it is all destroyed, so 
that there is now but an hermitage, that a manner of 
Christian men hold, that be clept Georgians, for Saint 
George converted them. Upon that hill dwelt Abraham 
a great while, and therefore men clepe it Abraham's 
Garden. And between the hill and this garden runneth a 
little brook of water that was wont to be bitter ; but, by 
the blessing of Elisha the prophet, it became sweet and 
good to drink. And at the foot of this hill, toward the 
plain, is a great well, that entereth into flom Jordan. 

From that hill to Jericho, that I spake of before, is but 
a mile in going toward flom Jordan. Also as men go to 
Jericho sat the blind man crying, Jesu, Fill David, miserere 
mei ; that is to say, ' Jesu, David's Son, have mercy on me.' 
And anon he had his sight. Also, two mile from Jericho, 
is flome Jordan. And, an half mile more nigh, is a fair 
church of Saint John the Baptist, where he baptised our 
Lord. And there beside is the house of Jeremiah the 



Of the Dead Sea-, and of the Flome Jordan. Of the Head 
of Saint John the Baptist; and of the Usages of the 

AND from Jericho, a three mile, is the Dead Sea. About 
that sea groweth much alum and of alkatran. Between 
Jericho and that sea is the land of Engeddi. And there 
was wont to grow the balm ; but men make draw the 
branches thereof and bear them to be grafted at Babylon ; 
and yet men clepe them vines of Geddi. At a coast of 
that sea, as men go from Arabia, is the mount of the 
Moabites, where there is a cave, that men clepe Karua. 
Upon that hill led Balak, the son of Beor, Balaam the 
priest for to curse the people of Israel. 

That Dead Sea parteth the land of Ind and of Arabia, 
and that sea lasteth from Soara unto Arabia. The water 
of that sea is full bitter and salt, and, if the earth were 
made moist and wet with that water, it would never bear 
fruit. And the earth and the land changeth often his 
colour. And it casteth out of the water a thing that men 
clepe asphalt, also great pieces, as the greatness of an 
horse, every day and on all sides. And from Jerusalem 
to that sea is 200 furlongs. That sea is in length 
five hundred and four score furlongs, and in breadth 
an hundred and fifty furlongs ; and it is clept the Dead 
Sea, for it runneth nought, but is ever un-movable. 
And neither man, ne beast, ne nothing that beareth 
life in him ne may not die in that sea. And that hath 
been proved many times, by men that have deserved to 
be dead that have been cast therein and left therein three 
days or four, and they ne might never die therein ; for 
it receiveth no thing within him that beareth life. And no 
man may drink of the water for bitterness. And if a man 
cast iron therein, it will float above. And if men cast a 


feather therein, it will sink to the bottom, and these be 
things against kind. 

And also, the cities there were lost because of sin. And 
there beside grow trees that bear full fair apples, and fair 
of colour to behold ; but whoso breaketh them or cutteth 
them in two, he shall find within them coals and cinders, 
in token that by wrath of God the cities and the land were 
burnt and sunken into hell. Some men clepe that sea the 
lake Dalfetidee ; some, the flome of Devils ; and some 
the flome that is ever stinking. And into that sea sunk 
the five cities by wrath of God; that is to say, Sodom, 
Gomorrah, Aldama, Zeboim, and Zoar, for the abominable 
sin of sodomy that reigned in them. But Zoar, by the 
prayer of Lot, was saved and kept a great while, for it was 
set upon a hill ; and yet sheweth thereof some part above 
the water, and men may see the walls when it is fair 
weather and clear. In that city Lot dwelt a little while ; 
and there was he made drunk of his daughters, and lay with 
them, and engendered of them Moab and Ammon. And 
the cause why his daughters made him drunk and for to 
lie by him was this : because they saw no man about them, 
but only their father, and therefore they trowed that God 
had destroyed all the world as he had done the cities, as 
he had done before by Noah's flood. And therefore they 
would lie by with their father for to have issue, and for to 
replenish the world again with people to restore the world 
again by them ; for they trowed that there had been no 
more men in all the world ; and if their father had not 
been drunk, he had not lain with them. 

And the hill above Zoar men cleped it then Edom and 
after men cleped it Seir, and after Idumea. Also at the 
right side of that Dead Sea, dwelleth yet the wife of Lot in 
likeness of a salt stone ; for that she looked behind her 
when the cities sunk into hell. This Lot was Haran's 
son, that was brother to Abraham ; and Sarah, Abraham's 
wife, and Milcah, Nahor's wife, were sisters to the said 
Lot. And the same Sarah was of eld four score and 
ten year when Isaac her son was gotten on her. And 
Abraham had another son Ishmael that he gat upon Hagar 


his chamberer. And when Isaac his son was eight days 
old, Abraham his father let him be circumcised, and 
Ishmael with him that was fourteen year old : wherefore 
the Jews that come of Isaac's line be circumcised the 
eighth day, and the Saracens that come of Ishmael's line 
be circumcised when they be fourteen year of age. 

And ye shall understand, that within the Dead Sea, 
runneth the flom Jordan, and there it dieth, for it 
runneth no further more, and that is a place that is a mile 
from the church of Saint John the Baptist toward the west, 
a little beneath the place where that Christian men bathe 
them commonly. And a mile from flom Jordan is the river 
of Jabbok, the which Jacob passed over when he came from 
Mesopotamia. This flom Jordan is no great river, but it 
is plenteous of good fish ; and it cometh out of the hill of 
Lebanon by two wells that be clept Jor and Dan, and of 
the two wells hath it the name. And it passeth by a lake 
that is clept Maron. And after it passeth by the sea of 
Tiberias, and passeth under the hills of Gilboa ; and there 
is a full fair vale, both on that one side and on that other 
of the same river. And men go [on] the hills of Lebanon, 
all in length unto the desert of Pharan ; and those hills 
part the kingdom of Syria and the country of Phoenicia ; 
and upon those hills grow trees of cedar that be full high, 
and they bear long apples, and as great as a man's head. 

And also this flom Jordan departeth the land of Galilee 
and the land of Idumea and the land of Betron, and that 
runneth under earth a great way unto a fair plain and a 
great that is clept Meldan in Sarmois ; that is to say, Fair 
or market in their language, because that there is often 
fairs in that plain. And there becometh the water great 
and large. In that plain is the tomb of Job. 

And in that flom Jordan above-said was our Lord 
baptised of Saint John, and the voice of God the Father 
was heard saying : Hie est Filius meus dikctus, etc. ; that is 
to say, l This is my beloved Son, in the which I am well 
pleased ; hear him ! ' and the Holy Ghost alighted upon 
him in likeness of a culver ; and so at his baptising was all 
the whole Trinity. 


And through that flome passed the children of Israel, all 
dry feet ; and they put stones there in the middle place, in 
token of the miracle that the water withdrew him so. Also 
in that flome Jordan Naaman of Syria bathed him, that was 
full rich, but he was mesell ; and there anon he took his 

About the flome Jordan be many churches where that 
many Christian men dwelled. And nigh thereto is the 
city of Ai that Joshua assailed and took. Also beyond 
the flome Jordan is the vale of Mamre, and that is a full 
fair vale. Also upon the hill that I spake of before, where 
our Lord fasted forty days, a two mile long from Galilee, 
is a fair hill and an high, where the enemy the fiend bare 
our Lord the third time to tempt him, and shewed him all 
the regions of the world and said, Hec omnia tibi dabo^ si 
cadens adoraveris me ; that is to say, c All this shall I give 
thee, if thou fall and worship me/ 

Also from the Dead Sea to go eastward, out of the marches 
of the Holy Land that is clept the Land of Promission, is a 
strong castle and a fair, in an hill that is clept Carak 
in Sarmois ; that is to say, Royally. That castle let make 
King Baldwin, that was King of France, when he had 
conquered that land, and put it into Christian men's hands 
for to keep that country ; and for that cause was it clept 
the Mount Royal. And under it there is a town that 
hight Sobach, and there, all about, dwell Christian men, 
under tribute. 

From thence go men to Nazareth, of the which our 
Lord beareth the surname. And from thence there is 
three journeys to Jerusalem : and men go by the province 
of Galilee by Ramath, by Sothim and by the high hill of 
Ephraim, where Elkanah and Hannah the mother of 
Samuel the prophet dwelled. There was born this prophet ; 
and, after his death, he was buried at Mount Joy, as I 
have said you before. 

And then go men to Shiloh, where the Ark of God with 
the relics were kept long time under Eli the prophet. 
There made the people of Hebron sacrifice to our 
Lord, and they yielded up their vows. And there spake 


God first to Samuel, and shewed him the mutation ot 
Order of Priesthood, and the mystery of the Sacrament. 
And right nigh, on the left side, is Gibeon and Ramah and 
Benjamin, of the which holy writ speaketh of. 

And after men go to Sichem, some-time clept Sichar ; 
and that is in the province of Samaritans. And there is a 
full fair vale and a fructuous ; and there is a fair city and 
a good that men clepe Neople. And from thence is a 
journey to Jerusalem. And there is the well, where 
our Lord spake to the woman of Samaritan. And there 
was wont to be a church, but it is beaten down. Beside that 
well King Rehoboam let make two calves of gold and 
made them to be worshipped, and put that one at Dan and 
that other at Bethel. And a mile from Sichar is the city 
of Luz ; and in that city dwelt Abraham a certain time. 
Sichem is a ten mile from Jerusalem, and it is clept Neople ; 
that is for to say, the New City. And nigh beside is the 
tomb of Joseph the son of Jacob that governed Egypt : 
for the Jews bare his bones from Egypt and buried them 
there, and thither go the Jews often-time in pilgrimage 
with great devotion. In that city was Dinah, Jacob's 
daughter, ravished, for whom her brethren slew many 
persons and did many harms to the city. And there beside 
is the hill of Gerizim, where the Samaritans make their 
sacrifice : in that hill would Abraham have sacrificed his 
son Isaac. And there beside is the vale of Dotaim, and 
there is the cistern, where Joseph, was cast in of his brethren, 
which they sold ; and that is two mile from Sichar. 

From thence go men to Samaria that men clepe now 
Sebast ; and that is the chief city of that country, and it 
sits between the hill of Aygnes 1 as Jerusalem doth. In 
that city was the sittings of the twelve tribes of Israel ; but 
the city is not now so great as it was wont to be. There 
was buried Saint John the Baptist between two prophets, 
Elisha and Abdon ; but he was beheaded in the castle of 
Macharim beside the Dead Sea, and after he was translated 
of his disciples, and buried at Samaria. And there let 
Julianus Apostata dig him up and let burn his bones (for 

1 French : entre montaignes. 


he was at that time emperor) and let winnow the ashes in 
the wind. But the finger that shewed our Lord, saying, 
Ecce Agnus Dei ; that is to say, ' Lo ! the Lamb of God/ 
that would never burn, but is all whole ; that finger let 
Saint Thecla, the holy virgin, be born into the hill of 
Sebast ; and there make men great feast. 

In that place was wont to be a fair church ; and many 
other there were ; but they be all beaten down. There 
was wont to be the head of Saint John Baptist, enclosed in 
the wall. But the Emperor Theodosius let draw it out, 
and found it wrapped in a little cloth, all bloody ; and so 
he let it to be born to Constantinople. And yet at Con- 
stantinople is the hinder part of the head, and the fore 
part of the head, till under the chin, is at Rome under the 
church of Saint Silvester, where be nuns of an hundred 
orders 1 : and it is yet all broilly, as though it were half- 
burnt, for the Emperor Julianus above- said, of his cursed- 
ness and malice, let burn that part with the other bones, 
and yet it sheweth ; and this thing hath been proved both 
by popes and by emperors. And the jaws beneath, that 
hold to the chin, and a part of the ashes and the platter 
that the head was laid in, when it was smitten off, is at 
Genoa ; and the Genoese make of it great feast, and so do 
the Saracens also. And some men say that the head of 
Saint John is at Amiens in Picardy ; and other men say that 
it is the head of Saint John the Bishop. I wot never, but 
God knoweth ; but in what wise that men worship it, the 
blessed Saint John holds him a-paid. 

From this city of Sebast unto Jerusalem is twelve mile. 
And between the hills of that country there is a well that 
four sithes in the year changeth his colour, sometime green, 
sometime red, sometime clear and sometime trouble ; and 
men clepe that well, Job. And the folk of that country, 
that men clepe Samaritans, were converted and baptized by 
the apostles; but they hold not well their doctrine, and 
always they hold laws by themselves, varying from Chris- 
tian men, from Saracens, Jews and Paynims. And the 
Samaritans lieve well in one God, and they say well that 

1 The translator mistakes cordelers for c. ordres. 


there is but only one God, that all formed, and all shall 
doom ; and they hold the Bible after the letter, and they 
use the Psalter as the Jews do. And they say that they be 
the right sons of God. And among all other folk, they say 
that they be best beloved of God, and that to them 
belongeth the heritage that God behight to his beloved 
children. And they have also diverse clothing and 
shape to look on than other folk have ; for they wrap 
their heads in red linen cloth, in difference from others. 
And the Saracens wrap their heads in white linen cloth ; 
and the Christian men, that dwell in the country, wrap 
them in blue of Ind ; and the Jews in yellow cloth. In 
that country dwell many of the Jews, paying tribute as 
Christian men do. And if ye will know the letters that 
the Jews use they be such, and the names be as they clepe 
them written above, in manner of their A. B. C. 

tAleph Beth Gymel Deleth He Vau Zay 

K 3 3 1 il 1 t 

Heth Thet Joht Kapho Lampd Mem Num 

n ID ' 3 *7 D 3 

Sameth Ey Fhee Sade Coph Resch Son Tau 

D J?D x p -I fc n 


Of the Province of Galilee, and where Antichrist shall be 
born. Of Nazareth. Of the age of Our Lady. Of the 
Day of Doom. And of the customs of Jacobites, Syrians; 
and of the usages of Georgians 

FROM this country of the Samaritans that I have spoken of 
before go men to the plains of Galilee, and men leave the 
hills on that one part. 

And Galilee is one of the provinces of the Holy Land, 
and in that province is the city of Nain and Capernaum, 
and Chorazin and Eethsaida. In this Bethsaida was Saint 


Peter and Saint Andrew born. And thence, a four mile, 
is Chorazin. And five mile from Chorazin is the city of 
Kedar whereof the Psalter speaketh : Et habitavi cum habi- 
tantibus Kedar ; that is for to say, * And I have dwelled with 
the dwelling men in Kedar/ In Chorazin shall Antichrist 
be born, as some men say. And other men say he shall 
be born in Babylon ; for the prophet saith : De Babilonia 
coluber exiet, qui to turn mundum devorabit; that is to say, 
' Out of Babylon shall come a worm that shall devour all 
the world.' This Antichrist shall be nourished in Beth- 
saida, and he shall reign in Capernaum: and therefore saith 
holy writ; Vae //'/, Chorazin! Vae tibi, Bethsaida! Fae 
tibi, Capernaum ! that is to say, ' Woe be to thee, Chorazin ! 
Woe to thee, Bethsaida ! Woe to thee, Capernaum/ 
And all these towns be in the land of Galilee. And also 
the Cana of Galilee is four mile from Nazareth : of that 
city was Simon Chananeus and his wife Canee, of the which 
the holy evangelist speaketh of. There did our Lord the 
first miracle at the wedding, when he turned water into 

And in the end of Galilee, at the hills, was the Ark of 
God taken; and on that other side is the Mount Endor 
or Hermon. And, thereabout, goeth the Brook of Torrens 
Kishon ; and there beside, Barak, that was Abimelech's son 
with Deborah the prophetess overcame the host of Idumea, 
when Sisera the king was slain of Jael the wife of Heber, 
and chased beyond the flome Jordan, by strength of sword, 
Zeeb and Zebah and Zalmunna, and there he slew them. 
Also a five mile from Nain is the city of Jezreel that some- 
time was clept Zarim, of the which city Jezabel, the cursed 
queen, was lady and queen, that took away the vine of 
Naboth by her strength. Fast by that city is the field 
Megiddo, in the which the King Joram was slain of the 
King of Samaria and after was translated and buried in the 
Mount Sion. 

And a mile from Jezreel be the hills of Gilboa, where 
Saul and Jonathan, that were so fair, died; wherefore 
David cursed them, as holy writ saith : Montes Gilboae, nee 
ros nee pluvia, etc. ; that is to say, * Ye hills of Gilboa, 


neither dew ne rain come upon you/ And a mile from 
the hills of Gilboa toward the east is the city of Cyropolis, 
that was clept before Bethshan ; and upon the walls of that 
city was the head of Saul hanged. 

After go men by the hill beside the plains of Galilee unto 
Nazareth, where was wont to be a great city and a fair ; 
but now there is not but a little village, and houses abroad 
here and there. And it is not walled. And it sits in a 
little valley, and there be hills all about. There was our 
Lady born, but she was gotten at Jerusalem. And because 
that our Lady was born at Nazareth, therefore bare our 
Lord his surname of that town. There took Joseph our 
Lady to wife, when she was fourteen year of age. And 
there Gabriel greeted our Lady, saying, Ave gratia plena, 
Dominus tecum ! that is to say, * Hail, full of grace, our 
Lord is with thee ! ' And this salutation was done in a 
place of a great altar of a fair church that was wont to be 
sometime, but it is now all down, and men have made a 
little receipt, beside a pillar of that church, to receive the 
offerings of pilgrims. And the Saracens keep that place 
full dearly, for the profit that they have thereof. And 
they be full wicked Saracens and cruel, and more despiteful 
than in any other place, and have destroyed all the churches. 
There nigh is Gabriel's Well, where our Lord was wont to 
bathe him, when he was young, and from that well bare he 
water often-time to his mother. And in that well she 
washed often-time the clouts of her Son Jesu Christ. And 
from Jerusalem unto thither is three journeys. At Nazareth 
was our Lord nourished. Nazareth is as much to say as, 
* Flower of the garden 1 ; and by good skill may it be clept 
flower, for there was nourished the flower of life that was 
Christ Jesu. 

And two mile from Nazareth is the city of Sephor, by 
the way that goeth from Nazareth to Akon. And an half 
mile from Nazareth is the Leap of our Lord. For the 
Jews led him upon an high rock for to make him leap 
down, and have slain him ; but Jesu passed amongst them, 
and leapt upon another rock, and yet be the steps of his feet 
seen in the rock, where he alighted. And therefore say 


some men, when they dread them of thieves in any way, 
or of enemies ; Jesus autem transiens per medium illorum 
ibat; that is to say, * Jesus, forsooth, passing by the midst 
of them, he went' : in token and mind, that our Lord 
passed through, out the Jews' cruelty, and scaped safely 
from them, so surely may men pass the peril of thieves. 
And then say men two verses of the Psalter three sithes : 
Irruat super eos formido & pavor, in magnitudine brachii tui, 
Domine. Fi ant immobile*, quasi lapis, donee pertranseat populus 
tuus, Domine; donee pertranseat populus tuus iste, quern posse- 
disti; and then may men pass without peril. 

And ye shall understand, that our Lady had child when 
she was fifteen year old. And she was conversant with her 
son thirty-three year and three months. And after the 
passion of our Lord she lived twenty-four year. 

Also from Nazareth men go to the Mount Tabor ; and 
that is a four mile. And it is a full fair hill and well high, 
where was wont to be a town and many churches ; but 
they be all destroyed. But yet there is a place that men 
clepe the school of God, where he was wont to teach his 
disciples, and told them the privities of heaven. And, at 
the foot of that hill, Melchisedech that was King of Salem, 
in the turning of that hill met Abraham in coming again 
from the battle, when he had slain Abimelech. And this 
Melchisedech was both king and priest of Salem that now 
is clept Jerusalem. In that hill Tabor our Lord trans- 
figured him before Saint Peter, Saint John and Saint 
Jame ; and there they saw, ghostly, Moses and Elias the 
prophets beside them. And therefore said Saint Peter; 
Domine, bonum est nos hie esse ; faciamus hie tria tabernacula ; 
that is to say, ' Lord, it is good for us to be here ; make 
we here three dwelling-places.' And there heard they a 
voice of the Father that say ; Hie est Films meus dilectus, 
in quo mihi bene complacui. And our Lord defended them 
that they should not tell that avision till that he were risen 
from death to life. 

In that hill and in that same place, at the day of doom, 
four angels with four trumpets shall blow and raise all 
men that had suffered death, sith that the world was 


formed, from death to life ; and shall come in body and 
soul in judgment, before the face of our Lord in the Vale 
of Jehosaphat. And the doom shall be on Easter Day, 
such time as our Lord arose. And the doom shall begin, 
such hour as our Lord descended to hell and despoiled it. 
For at such hour shall he despoil the world and lead his 
chosen to bliss ; and the other shall he condemn to perpetual 
pains. And then shall every man have after his desert, 
either good or evil, but if the mercy of God pass his 

Also a mile from Mount Tabor is the Mount Hermon ; 
and there was the city of Nain. Before the gate of that 
city raised our Lord the widow's son, that had no more 
children. Also three miles from Nazareth is the Castle 
Safra, of the which the sons of Zebedee and the sons of 
Alpheus were. Also a seven mile from Nazareth is the 
Mount Cain, and under that is a well ; and beside that 
well Lamech, Noah's father, slew Cain with an arrow. 
For this Cain went through briars and bushes as a wild 
beast ; and he had lived from the time of Adam his father 
unto the time of Noah, and so he lived nigh to 2000 year. 
And this Lamech was all blind for eld. 

From Safra men go to the sea of Galilee and to the city 
of Tiberias, that sits upon the same sea. And albeit that 
men clepe it a sea, yet is it neither sea ne arm of the sea. 
For it is but a stank of fresh water that is in length one 
hundred furlongs, and of breadth forty furlongs, and hath 
within him great plenty of good fish, and runneth into 
flom Jordan. The city is not full great, but it hath 
good baths within him. 

And there, as the flome Jordan parteth from the sea 
of Galilee, is a great bridge, where men pass from the 
Land of Promission to the land of King Bashan and the 
land of Gennesaret, that be about the flom Jordan and the 
beginning of the sea of Tiberias. And from thence may 
men go to Damascus, in three days, by the kingdom of 
Traconitis, the which kingdom lasteth from Mount 
Hermon to the sea of Galilee, or to the sea of Tiberias, 
or to the sea of Gennesaret ; and all is one sea, and this 


the tank that I have told you, but it changeth thus the 
name for the names of the cities that sit beside him. 

Upon that sea went our Lord dry feet ; and there he 
took up Saint Peter, when he began to drench within the 
sea, and said to him, Mo dice fidei, quare dubitasti ? And 
after his resurrection our Lord appeared on that sea to his 
disciples and bade them fish, and filled all the net full of 
great fishes. In that sea rowed our Lord often-time ; and 
there he called to him Saint Peter, Saint Andrew, Saint 
James and Saint John, the sons of Zebedee. 

In that city of Tiberias is the table upon the which our 
Lord ate upon with his disciples after his resurrection ; 
and they knew him in breaking of bread, as the gospel 
saith : Et cognoverunt eum in fractione panis. And nigh 
that city of Tiberias is the hill, where our Lord fed 5000 
persons with five barley loaves and two fishes. 

In that city a man cast a burning dart in wrath after 
our Lord. And the head smote into the earth and waxed 
green ; and it growed to a great tree. And yet it 
groweth and the bark thereof is all like coals. 

Also in the head of that sea of Galilee, toward the 
septentrion is a strong castle and an high that hight 
Saphor. And fast beside it is Capernaum. Within the 
Land of Promission is not so strong a castle. And there 
is a good town beneath that is clept also Saphor. In that 
castle Saint Anne our Lady's mother was born. And 
there beneath, was Centurio's house. That country is 
clept the Galilee of Folk that were taken to tribute of 
Zebulon and Napthali. 

And in again coming from that castle, a thirty mile, is 
the city of Dan, that sometime was clept Belinas or 
Cesarea Philippi ; that sits at the foot of the Mount of 
Lebanon, where the flome Jordan beginneth. There 
beginneth the Land of Promission and dureth unto Beer- 
sheba in length, in going toward the north into the south, 
and it containeth well a nine score miles ; and of '''breadth, 
that is to say, from Jericho unto Jaffa, and that containeth 
a forty mile of Lombardy, or of our country, that be also 
little miles ; these be not miles of Gascony ne of the 


province of Almayne, where be great miles. And wit ye 
well, that the Land of Promission is in Syria. For the realm 
of Syria dureth from the deserts of Arabia unto Cilicia, 
and that is Armenia the great ; that is to say, from the 
south to the north. And, from the east to the west, it 
dureth from the great deserts of Arabia unto the West 
Sea. But in that realm of Syria is the kingdom of Judea 
and many other provinces, as Palestine, Galilee, Little 
Cilicia, and many other. 

In that country and other countries beyond they have a 
custom, when they shall use war, and when men hold 
siege about city or castle, and they within dare not send 
out messengers with letters from lord to lord for to ask 
succour, they make their letters and bind them to the neck 
of a culver, and let the culver flee. And the culvers be so 
taught, that they flee with those letters to the very place 
that men would send them to. For the culvers be nourished 
in those places where they be sent to, and they send them 
thus, for to bear their letters. And the culvers return again 
whereas they be nourished ; and so they do commonly. 

And ye shall understand that amongst the Saracens, 
one part and other, dwell many Christian men of many 
manners and diverse names. And all be baptized and have 
diverse laws and diverse customs. But all believe in God 
the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost ; but always 
fail they in some articles of our faith. Some of these be 
clept Jacobites, for Saint James converted them and Saint 
John baptized them. They say that a man shall make his 
confession only to God, and not to a man ; for only to 
him should man yield him guilty of all that he hath 
misdone. Ne God ordained not, ne never devised, ne 
the prophet neither, that a man should shrive him to 
another (as they say), but only to God. As Moses 
writeth in the Bible, and as David saith in the Psalter Book; 
Confitebor tibi, Domine, in to to corde meo, and Delictum meum 
tibi cognitum fed, and Deus meus es tu, & confitebor tibi, and 
duoniam cogitatio hominis confitebitur tibi, etc. For they 
know all the Bible and the Psalter. And therefore allege 
they so the letter. But they allege not the authorities 


thus in Latin, but in their language full apertly, and say 
well, that David and other prophets say it. 

Natheles, Saint Augustine and Saint Gregory say 
thus : Augustinus : Qui scelera sua cogitat, & conversus 
fuerit, veniam sibi credat. Gregorius : Dominus potius 
mentem quam verba respicit. And Saint Hilary saith : 
Longorum temporum crimina, in ictu oculi pereunt, si cordis 
nata fuerit compunctio. And for such authorities they say, 
that only to God shall a man knowledge his defaults, 
yielding himself guilty and crying him mercy, and behoting 
to him to amend himself. And therefore, when they will 
shrive them, they take fire and set it beside them, and cast 
therein powder of frankincense ; and in the smoke thereof 
they shrive them to God, and cry him mercy. But sooth 
it is, that this confession was first and kindly. But Saint 
Peter the apostle, and they that came after him, have 
ordained to make their confession to man, and by good 
reason ; for they perceived well that no sickness was 
curable, [ne] good medicine to lay thereto, but if men knew 
the nature of the malady ; and also no man may give 
convenable medicine, but if he know the quality of the 
deed. For one sin may be greater in one man than in 
another, and in one place and in one time than in another ; 
and therefore it behoveth him that he know the kind of 
the deed, and thereupon to give him penance. 

There be other, that be clept Syrians ; and they hold 
the belief amongst us, and of them of Greece. And they 
use all beards, as men of Greece do. And they make the 
sacrament of therf bread. And in their language they use 
letters of Saracens. But after the mystery of Holy Church 
they use letters of Greece. And they make their con- 
fession, right as the Jacobites do. 

There be other, that men clepe Georgians, that Saint 
George converted ; and him they worship more than any 
other saint, and to him they cry for help. And they came 
out of the realm of Georgia. These folk use crowns 
shaven. The clerks have round crowns, and the lewd men 
have crowns all square. And they hold Christian law, as 
do they of Greece ; of whom I have spoken of before. 


Other there be that men clepe Christian men of Girding, 
for they be all girt above. And there be other that men 
clepe Nestorians. And some Arians, some Nubians, some 
of Greece, some of Ind, and some of Prester John's Land. 
And all these have many articles of our faith, and to other 
they be variant. And of their variance were too long to 
tell, and so I will leave, as for the time, without more 
speaking of them. 


Of the City of Damascus. Of three ways to Jerusalem ; one, 
by land and by sea; another, more by land than by 
sea ; and the third way to Jerusalem, all by land 

Now after that I have told you some part of folk 
in the countries before, now will I turn again to my 
way, for to turn again on this half. Then whoso will 
go from the land of Galilee, of that that I have spoke 
for, to come again on this half, men come again by 
Damascus, that is a full fair city and full noble, and full of 
all merchandises, and a three journeys long from the sea, 
and a five journeys from Jerusalem. But upon camels, 
mules, horses, dromedaries and other beasts, men carry 
their merchandise thither. And thither come the merchants 
with merchandise by sea from India, Persia, Chaldea, 
Armenia, and of many other kingdoms. 

This city founded Eliezer Damascus, that was yeoman 
and dispenser of Abraham before that Isaac was born. 
For he thought for to have been Abraham's heir, and he 
named the town after his surname Damascus. And in 
that place, where Damascus was founded, Cain slew 
Abel his brother. And beside Damascus is the Mount 
Seir. In that city of Damascus there is great plenty 
of wells. And within the city and without be many fair 
gardens and of diverse fruits. None other city is not like 
in comparison to it of fair gardens, and of fair disports. 


The city is great and full of people, and well walled with 
double walls. And there be many physicians. And Saint 
Paul himself was there a physician for to keep men's bodies 
in health, before he was converted. And after that he was 
physician of souls. And Saint Luke the evangelist was 
disciple of Saint Paul for to learn physic, and many other ; 
for Saint Paul held then school of physic. And near beside 
Damascus was he converted. And after his conversion 
ne dwelt in that city three days, without sight and without 
meat or drink ; and in those three days he was ravished 
to heaven, and there he saw many privities of our Lord. 

And fast beside Damascus is the castle of Arkes that is 
both fair and strong. 

From Damascus men come again by our Lady of 
Sardenak, that is a five mile on this half Damascus. And 
it sitteth upon a rock, and it is a full fair place ; and it 
seemeth a castle, for there was wont to be a castle, but it 
is now a full fair church. And there within be monks and 
nuns Christian. And there is a vault under the church, 
where that Christian men dwell also. And they have 
many good vines. And in the church, behind the high 
altar, in the wall, is a table of black wood, on the which 
sometime was depainted an image of our Lady that turneth 
into flesh : but now the image sheweth but little, but alway, 
by the grace of God, 1 that table evermore drops oil, as it were 
of olive ; and there is a vessel of marble under the table to 
receive the oil. Thereof they give to pilgrims, for it heals 
of many sicknesses ; and men say that, if it be kept well 
seven year, afterwards it turns into flesh and blood. 
From Sardenak men come through the vale of Bochar, the 
which is a fair vale and a plenteous of all manner of fruit ; 
and it is amongst hills. And there are therein fair rivers 
and great meadows and noble pasture for beasts. And men 
go by the mounts of Libanus, which lasts from Armenia 
the more towards the north unto Dan, the which is the end 
of the Land of Repromission toward the north, as I said 
before. Their hills are right fruitful, and there are many 
fair wells and cedars and cypresses, and many other trees 

1 From here to page 87 1. 8 is supplied from the Egerton MS. 


of divers kinds. There are also many good towns toward 
the head of their hills, full of folk. 

Between the city of Arkez and the city of Raphane is a 
river, that is called Sabatory; for on the Saturday it runs 
fast, and all the week else it stand still and runs not, or 
else but fairly. Between the foresaid hills also is another 
water that on nights freezes hard and on days is no frost 
seen thereon. And, as men come again from those hills, 
is a hill higher than any of the other, and they call it there 
the High Hill. There is a great city and a fair, the which 
is called Tripoli, in the which are many good Christian men, 
yemand the same rites and customs that we use. From 
thence men come by a city that is called Beyrout, where 
Saint George slew the dragon ; and it is a good town, and 
a fair castle therein, and it is three journeys from the 
foresaid city of Sardenak. At the one side of Beyrout 
sixteen mile, to come hitherward, is the city of Sydon. At 
Beyrout enters pilgrims into the sea that will come to Cyprus, 
and they arrive at the port of Surry or of Tyre, and so they 
come to Cyprus in a little space. Or men may come from 
the port of Tyre and come not at Cyprus, and arrive at 
some haven of Greece, and so come to these parts, as I 
said before. 

I have told you now of the way by which men go 
farrest and longest to Jerusalem, as by Babylon and 
Mount Sinai and many other places which ye heard me tell 
of; and also by which ways men shall turn again to the 
Land of Repromission. Now will I tell you the rightest 
way and the shortest to Jerusalem. For some men will 
not go the other; some for they have not spending 
enough, some for they have no good company, and some 
for they may not endure the long travel, some for they 
dread them of many perils of deserts, some for they will 
haste them homeward, desiring to see their wives and 
their children, or for some other reasonable cause that they 
have to turn soon home. And therefore I will shew how 
men may pass tittest and in shortest time make their 
pilgrimage to Jerusalem. A man that comes from the 
lands of the west, he goes through France, Burgoyne, 


and Lumbardy. And so to Venice or Genoa, or some 
other haven, and ships there and wends by sea to the isle 
of Greff, the which pertains to the Genoans. 

And syne he arrives in Greece at Port Mirrok, or at 
Valoun, or at Duras, or at some other haven of that 
country, and rests him there and buys him victuals and 
ships again and sails to Cyprus and arrives there at Fama- 
gost and comes not at the isle of Rhodes. Famagost is the 
chief haven of Cyprus ; and there he refreshes him and 
purveys him of victuals, and then he goes to ship and 
comes no more on land, if he will, before he comes at Port 
Jaffa, that is the next haven to Jerusalem, for it is but a 
day journey and a half from Jerusalem, that is to say 
thirty-six mile. From the Port Jaffa men go to the city of 
Rames, the which is but a little thence ; and it is a fair city 
and a good and mickle folk therein. And without that 
city toward the south is a kirk of our Lady, where our Lord 
shewed him to her in three clouds, the which betokened the 
Trinity. And a little thence is another city, that men call 
Dispolis, but it hight some time Lidda, a fair city and a 
well inhabited : there is a kirk of Saint George, where 
he was headed. From thence men go to the castle of 
Emmaus, and so to the Mount Joy ; there may pilgrims 
first see Jerusalem. At Mount Joy lies Samuel the prophet. 
From thence men go to Jerusalem. Beside their ways is 
the city of Ramatha and the Mount Modyn ; and thereof 
was Matathias, Judas Machabeus father, and there are the 
graves of the Machabees. Beyond Ramatha is the town 
of Tekoa, whereof Amos the prophet was ; and there is 
his grave. 

I have told you before of the holy places that are at 
Jerusalem and about it, and therefore I will speak no more 
of them at this time. But I will turn again and shew you 
other ways a man may pass more by land, and namely for 
them that may not suffer the savour of the sea, but is 
liefer to go by land, if all it be the more pain. From a 
man be entered into the sea he shall pass till one of the 
havens of Lumbardy, for there is the best making of 
purveyance of victuals ; or he may pass to Genoa or Venice 


or some other. And he shall pass by sea in to Greece to 
the Port Mirrok, or to Valoun or to Duras, or some 
other haven of that country. And from thence he shall 
go by land to Constantinople, and he shall pass the water 
that is called Brace Saint George, the which is one arm of 
the sea. And from thence he shall by land go to RufFy- 
nell, where a good castle is and a strong ; and from 
therein he shall go to Puluual, and syne to the castle of 
Sinope, and from thence to Cappadocia, that is a great 
country, where are many great hills. And he shall go 
through Turkey to the port of Chiutok and to the city of 
Nicaea, which is but seven miles thence. That city won the 
Turks from the Emperor of Constantinople ; and it is a 
fair city and well walled on the one side, and on the other 
side is a great lake and a great river, the which is called Lay. 
From thence men go by the hills of Nairmount and by the 
vales of Mailbrins and strait fells and by the town of 
Ormanx or by the towns that are on Riclay and Stancon, 
the which are great rivers and noble, and so to Antioch 
the less, which is set on the river of Riclay. And there 
abouts are many good hills and fair, and many fair woods 
and great plenty of wild beasts for to hunt at. 

And he that will go another way, he shall go by the 
plains of Romany coasting the Roman Sea. On that coast 
is a fair castle that men call Florach, and it is right a 
strong place. And uppermore amongst the mountains 
is a fair city, that is called Tarsus, and the city of 
Longemaath, and the city of Assere, and the city of 
Marmistre. And when a man is passed those mountains 
and those fells, he goes by the city of Marioch and by 
Artoise, where is a great bridge upon the river of Feme, 
that is called Farfar, and it is a great river bearing ships 
and it runs right fast out of the mountains to the city of 
Damascus. And beside the city of Damascus is another great 
river that comes from the hills of Liban, which men call 
Abbana. At the passing of this river Saint Eustace, that 
some-time was called Placidas, lost his wife and his two 
children. This river runs through the plain of Archades, 
and so to the Red Sea. From thence men go to the city 


of Phenice, where are hot wells and hot baths. And then 
men go to the city of Feme ; and between Phenice and 
Feme are ten mile. And there are many fair woods. 
And then men come to Antioch, which is ten mile thence. 
And it is a fair city and well walled about with many 
fair towers ; and it is a great city, but it was some-time 
greater than it is now. For it was some-time two mile 
on length and on breadth other half mile. And through 
the midst of that city ran the water of Farphar and a 
great bridge over it ; and there was some-time in the walls 
about this city three hundred and fifty towers, and at each 
pillar of the bridge was a stone. This is the chief city of 
the kingdom of Syria. And ten mile from this city is the 
port of Saint Symeon ; and there goes the water of Farphar 
into the sea. From Antioch men go to a city that is 
called Lacuth, and then to Gebel, and then to Tortouse. 
And there near is the land of Channel; and there is a 
strong castle that is called Maubek. From Tortouse pass 
men to Tripoli by sea, or else by land through the straits 
of mountains and fells. And there is a city that is called 
Gibilet. From Tripoli go men to Acres ; and from thence 
are two ways to Jerusalem, the one on the left half and the 
other on the right half. By the left way men go by 
Damascus and by the flum Jordan. By the right way men 
go by Maryn and by the land of Flagramy and near the 
mountains into the city of Cayphas, that some men call 
the castle of Pilgrims. And from thence to Jerusalem are 
three day journey, in the which men shall go through 
Caesarea Philippi, and so to Jaffa and Rames and the castle 
of Emmaus, and so to Jerusalem. 

Now have I told you some ways by land and by water 
that men may go by to the Holy Land after the countries 
that they come from. Nevertheless they come all to one 
end. Yet is there another way to Jerusalem all by land, 
and pass not the sea, from France or Flanders ; but that 
way is full long and perilous and of great travel, and 
therefore few go that way. He that shall go that way, he 
shall go through Almayne and Prussia and so to Tartary. 
This Tartary is holden of the great Caan of Cathay, of 


whom I think to speak afterward. This is a full ill land 
and sandy and little fruit bearing. For there grows no 
corn, ne wine, ne beans, ne peas, ne none other fruit con- 
venable to man for to live with. But there are beasts in 
great plenty : and therefore they eat but flesh without 
bread and sup the broth and they drink milk of all manner 
of beasts. They eat hounds, cats, ratons, and all other 
wild beasts. And they have no wood, or else little ; and 
therefore they warm and seethe their meat with horse-dung 
and cow-dung and of other beasts, dried against the sun. 
And princes and other eat not but once in the day, and 
that but little. And they be right foul folk and of evil 
kind. And in summer, by all the countries, fall many 
tempests and many hideous thunders and leits and 
slay much people and beasts also full often-time. And 
suddenly is there passing heat, and suddenly also passing 
cold; and it is the foulest country and the most cursed 
and the poorest that men know. And their prince, that 
governeth that country, that they clepe Batho, dwelleth at 
the city of Orda. And truly no good man should not 
dwell in that country, for the land and the country is not 
worthy hounds to dwell in. It were a good country to 
sow in thistle and briars and broom and thorns and briars ; 
and for no other thing is it not good. Natheles, there is 
good land in some place, but it is pure little, as men say. 

I have not been in that country, nor by those ways. 
But I have been at other lands that march to those 
countries, as in the land of Russia, as in the land of 
Nyflan, and in the realm of Cracow and of Letto, and in 
the realm of Daristan, and in many other places that march 
to the coasts. But I went never by that way to Jerusalem, 
wherefore I may not well tell you the manner. 

But, if this matter please to any worthy man that hath 
gone by that way, he may tell it if him like, to that intent, 
that those, that will go by that way and make their voyage 
by those coasts, may know what way is there. For no 
man may pass by that way goodly, but in time of winter, 
for the perilous waters and wicked mareys, that be in 
those countries, that no man may pass but if it be strong 


frost and snow above. For if the snow ne were not, men 
might not go upon the ice, ne horse ne car neither. 

And it is well a three journeys of such way to pass from 
Prussia to the land of Saracens habitable. And it behoveth 
to the Christian men, that shall war against them every 
year, to bear their victuals with them ; for they shall find 
there no good. And then must they let carry their victual 
upon the ice with cars that have no wheels, that they clepe 
sleighs. And as long as their victuals last they may abide 
there, but no longer ; for there shall they find no wight 
that will sell them any victual or anything. And when 
the spies see any Christian men come upon them, they run 
to the towns, and cry with a loud voice ; Kerra, Kerra, 
Kerra. And then anon they arm them and assemble them 

And ye shall understand that it freezeth more strongly 
in those countries than on this half. And therefore hath 
every man stews in his house, and in those stews they eat 
and do their occupations all that they may. For that is at 
the north parts that men clepe the Septentrional where it 
is all only cold. For the sun is but little or none toward 
those countries. And therefore in the Septentrion, that is 
very north, is the land so cold, that no man may dwell 
there. And, in the contrary, toward the south it is so hot, 
that no man ne may dwell there, because that the sun, 
when he is upon the south, casteth his beams all straight 
upon that part. 


Of the Customs of Saracens, and of their Law. And how 
the Soldan reasoned me, Author of this Book; and of the 
beginning of Mohammet 

Now, because that I have spoken of Saracens and of their 
country now, if ye will know a part of their law and of 
their belief, I shall tell you after that their book that is 


clept Alkaron telleth. And some men clepe that book 
Meshaf. And some men clepe it Harme, after the diverse 
languages of the country. The which book Mohammet 
took them. In the which book, among other things, is 
written, as I have often-time seen and read, that the good 
shall go to paradise, and the evil to hell ; and that believe 
all Saracens. And if a man ask them what paradise they 
mean, they say, to paradise that is a place of delights where 
men shall find all manner of fruits in all seasons, and 
rivers running of milk and honey, and of wine and of 
sweet water ; and that they shall have fair houses and 
noble, every man after his desert, made of precious stones 
and of gold and of silver ; and that every man shall have 
four score wives all maidens, and he shall have ado every 
day with them, and yet he shall find them always maidens. 

Also they believe and speak gladly of the Virgin Mary 
and of the Incarnation. And they say that Mary was 
taught of the angel ; and that Gabriel said to her, that she 
was for-chosen from the beginning of the world ; and that 
he shewed to her the Incarnation of Jesu Christ ; and that 
she conceived and bare child maiden ; and that witnesseth 
their book. 

And they say also, that Jesu Christ spake as soon as he 
was born ; and that he was an holy prophet and a true in 
word and deed, and meek and piteous and rightful and 
without any vice. 

And they say also, that when the angel shewed the 
Incarnation of Christ unto Mary, she was young and had 
great dread. For there was then an enchanter in the 
country that dealt with witchcraft, that men clept Taknia, 
that by his enchantments could make him in likeness of an 
angel, and went often-times and lay with maidens. And 
therefore Mary dreaded lest it had been Taknia, that came 
for to deceive the maidens. And therefore she conjured 
the angel, that he should tell her if it were he or no. And 
the angel answered and said that she should have no dread 
of him, for he was very messenger of Jesu Christ. Also 
their book saith, that when that she had childed under a 
palm tree she had great shame, that she had a child ; and 


she greet and said that she would that she had been dead. 
And anon the child spake to her and comforted her, and 
said, " Mother, ne dismay thee nought, for God hath hid in 
thee his privities for the salvation of the world." And in 
other many places saith their Alkaron, that Jesu Christ 
spake as soon as he was born. And that book saith also 
that Jesu was sent from God Almighty for to be mirror 
and example and token to all men. 

And the Alkaron saith also of the day of doom how 
God shall come to doom all manner of folk. And 
the good he shall draw on his side and put them into 
bliss, and the wicked he shall condemn to the pains of 
hell. And among all prophets Jesu was the most excellent 
and the most worthy next God, and that he made the 
gospels in the which is good doctrine and healthful, full 
of clarity and soothfastness and true preaching to them 
that believe in God. And that he was a very prophet and 
more than a prophet, and lived without sin, and gave 
sight to the blind, and healed the lepers, and raised dead 
men, and styed to heaven. 

And when they may hold the Book of the Gospels of our 
Lord written and namely Missus est Angelus Gabriel^ that 
gospel they say, those that be lettered, often-times in their 
orisons, and they kiss it and worship it with great devotion. 

They fast an whole month in the year and eat nought but 
by night. And they keep them from their wives all that 
month. But the sick men be not constrained to that fast. 

Also this book speaketh of Jews and saith that they 
be cursed ; for they would not believe that Jesu Christ was 
come of God. And that they lied falsely on Mary and on 
her son Jesu Christ, saying that they had crucified Jesu 
the son of Mary; for he was never crucified, as they 
say, but that God made him to sty up to him without 
death and without annoy. But he transfigured his likeness 
into Judas Iscariot, and him crucified the Jews, and weened 
that it had been Jesus. But Jesus styed to heavens all 
quick. And therefore they say, that the Christian men 
err and have no good knowledge of this, and that they 
believe folily and falsely that Jesu Christ was crucified. 


And they say yet, that and he had been crucified, that 
God had done against his righteousness for to suffer 
Jesu Christ, that was innocent, to be put upon the cross 
without guilt. And in this article they say that we fail 
and that the great righteousness of God might not suffer 
so great a wrong: and in this faileth their faith. For they 
knowledge well, that the works of Jesu Christ be good, 
and his words and his deeds and his doctrine by his gospels 
were true, and his miracles also true ; and the blessed 
Virgin Mary is good, and holy maiden before and after the 
birth of Jesu Christ ; and that all those that believe 
perfectly in God shall be saved. And because that they 
go so nigh our faith, they be lightly converted to Christian 
law when men preach them and shew them distinctly the law 
of Jesu Christ, and when they tell them of the prophecies. 

And also they say, that they know well by the 
prophecies that the law of Mahomet shall fail, as the 
law of the Jews did ; and that the law of Christian people 
shall last to the day of doom. And if any man ask them 
what is their belief, they answer thus, and in this form : 
" We believe God, former of heaven and of earth, and 
of all other things that he made. And without him is 
nothing made. And we believe of the day of doom, and 
that every man shall have his merit, after he hath deserved. 
And, we believe it for sooth, all that God hath said by 
the mouths of his prophets." 

Also Mahomet commanded in his Alkaron^ that every 
man should have two wives, or three or four ; but now 
they take unto nine, and of lemans as many as he may 
sustain. And if any of their wives mis-bear them against 
their husband, he may cast her out of his house, and 
depart from her and take another ; but he shall depart with 
her his goods. 

Also, when men speak to them of the Father and of the 
Son and of the Holy Ghost, they say, that they be three 
persons, but not one God ; for their Alkaron speaketh not 
of the Trinity. But they say well, that God hath speech, 
and else were he dumb. And God hath also a spirit they 
know well, for else they say, he were not alive. And 


when men speak to them of the Incarnation how that 
by the word of the angel God sent his wisdom in to earth 
and enombred him in the Virgin Mary, and by the word 
of God shall the dead be raised at the day of doom, 
they say, that it is sooth and that the word of God 
hath great strength. And they say that whoso knew not 
the word of God he should not know God. And they 
say also that Jesu Christ is the word of God : and so saith 
their yf/kzr0#, where it saith that the angel spake to Mary and 
said : " Mary, God shall preach thee the gospel by the word 
of his mouth and his name shall be clept Jesu Christ." 

And they say also, that Abraham was friend to God, 
and that Moses was familiar speaker with God, and Jesu 
Christ was the word and the spirit of God, and that 
Mohammet was right messenger of God. And they say, 
that of these four, Jesu was the most worthy and the most 
excellent and the most great. So that they have many 
good articles of our faith, albeit that they have no perfect 
law and faith as Christian men have ; and therefore be they 
lightly converted, and namely those that understand the 
scriptures and the prophecies. For they have the gospels 
and the prophecies and the Bible written in their language ; 
wherefore they ken much of holy writ, but they under- 
stand it not but after the letter. And so do the Jews, for 
they understand not the letter ghostly, but bodily ; and 
therefore be they reproved of the wise, that ghostly under- 
stand it. And therefore saith Saint Paul : Litera occidit; 
spiritus autem vivifaat. Also the Saracens say, that the 
Jews be cursed ; for they have befouled the law that God 
sent them by Moses : and the Christian be cursed also, as 
they say ; for they keep not the commandments and the 
precepts of the gospel that Jesu Christ taught them. 

And, therefore, I shall tell you what the soldan told me 
upon a day in his chamber. He let void out of his 
chamber all manner of men, lords and others, for he would 
speak with me in counsel. And there he asked me how 
the Christian men governed them in our country. And I 
said him, " Right well, thanked be God!" 

And he said me, " Truly nay ! For ye Christian men 


ne reck right nought, how untruly to serve God ! Ye 
should give ensample to the lewd people for to do well, 
and ye give them ensample to do evil. For the commons, 
upon festival days, when they should go to church to 
serve God, then go they to taverns, and be there in 
gluttony all the day and all night, and eat and drink as 
beasts that have no reason, and wit not when they have 
enough. And also the Christian men enforce themselves 
in all manners that they may, for to fight and for to 
deceive that one that other. And therewithal they be so 
proud, that they know not how to be clothed ; now long, 
now short, now strait, now large, now sworded, now 
daggered, and in all manner guises. They should be 
simple, meek and true, and full of alms-deeds, as Jesu 
was, in whom they trow ; but they be all the contrary, 
and ever inclined to the evil, and to do evil. And they 
be so covetous, that, for a little silver, they sell their 
daughters, their sisters and their own wives to put them to 
lechery. And one withdraweth the wife of another, and 
none of them holdeth faith to another ; but they defoul 
their law that Jesu Christ betook them to keep for their 
salvation. And thus, for their sins, have they lost all this 
land that we hold. For, for their sins, their God hath 
taken them into our hands, not only by strength of ourself, 
but for their sins. For we know well, in very sooth, 
that when ye serve God, God will help you ; and when he 
is with you, no man may be against you. And that know 
we well by our prophecies, that Christian men shall win 
again this land out of our hands, when they serve God 
more devoutly; but as long as they be of foul and of 
unclean living (as they be now) we have no dread of them 
in no kind, for their God will not help them in no wise." 

And then I asked him, how he knew the state of Christian 
men. And he answered me, that he knew all the state of 
all courts of Christian kings and princes and the state of 
the commons also by his messengers that he sent to all 
lands, in manner as they were merchants of precious stones, 
of cloths of gold and of other things, for to know the 
manner of every country amongst Christian men. And 


then he let clepe in all the lords that he made void first out 
of his chamber, and there he shewed me four that were 
great lords in the country, that told me of my country 
and of many other Christian countries, as well as they had 
been of the same country ; and they spake French right 
well, and the soldan also ; whereof I had great marvel. 

Alas! that it is great slander to our faith and to our 
law, when folk that be without law shall reprove us and 
undernim us of our sins, and they that should be con- 
verted to Christ and to the law of Jesu by our good 
en samples and by our acceptable life to God, and so 
converted to the law of Jesu Christ, be, through our 
wickedness and evil living, far from us and strangers from 
the holy and very belief, shall thus appeal us and hold us 
for wicked livers and cursed. And truly they say sooth, 
for the Saracens be good and faithful ; for they keep entirely 
the commandment of the holy book Alkaron that God sent 
them by his messenger Mahomet, to the which, as they 
say, Saint Gabriel the angel oftentime told the will of God. 

And ye shall understand, that Mahomet was born in 
Arabia, that was first a poor knave that kept camels, that 
went with merchants for merchandise. And so befell, that 
he went with the merchants into Egypt ; and they were 
then Christian in those parts. And at the deserts of Arabia, 
he went into a chapel where a hermit dwelt. And when 
he entered into the chapel that was but a little and a low 
thing and had but a little door and a low, then the entry 
began to wax so great, and so large and so high as though 
it had been of a great minster or the gate of a palace. And 
this was the first miracle, the Saracens say, that Mahomet 
did in his youth. 

After began he for to wax wise and rich. And he was 
a great astronomer. And after, he was governor and 
prince of the land of Cozrodane ; and he governed it full 
wisely, in such manner, that when the prince was dead, he 
took the lady to wife that hight Gadrige. And Mahomet 
fell often in the great sickness that men call the falling evil ; 
wherefore the lady was full sorry that ever she took him to 
husband. But Mahomet made her to believe, that all 


times, when he fell so, Gabriel the angel came for to speak 
with him, and for the great light and brightness of the 
angel he might not sustain him from falling ; and therefore 
the Saracens say, that Gabriel came often to speak with him. 

This Mahomet reigned in Arabia, the year of our Lord 
Jesu Christ 610, and was of the generation of Ishmael that 
was Abraham's son, that he gat upon Hagar his chamberer. 
And therefore there be Saracens that be clept Ishmaelites ; 
and some Hagarenes, of Hagar. And the other properly 
be clept Saracens, of Sarah. And some be clept Moabites 
and some Ammonites, for the two sons of Lot, Moab 
and Ammon, that he begat on his daughters, that were 
afterward great earthly princes. 

And also Mahomet loved well a good hermit that 
dwelled in the deserts a mile from Mount Sinai, in the way 
that men go from Arabia toward Chaldea and toward Ind, 
one day's journey from the sea, where the merchants of 
Venice come often for merchandise. And so often went 
Mahomet to this hermit, that all his men were wroth ; 
for he would gladly hear this hermit preach and make his 
men wake all night. And therefore his men thought to 
put the hermit to death. And so it befell upon a night, 
that Mahomet was drunken of good wine, and he fell on 
sleep. And his men took Mahomet's sword out of his 
sheath, whiles he slept, and therewith they slew this hermit, 
and put his sword all bloody in his sheath again. And at 
morrow, when he found the hermit dead, he was full sorry 
and wroth, and would have done his men to death. But 
they all, with one accord, said that he himself had slain him, 
when he was drunken, and shewed him his sword all bloody. 
And he trowed that they had said sooth. And then he 
cursed the wine and all those that drink it. And there- 
fore Saracens that be devout drink never no wine. But 
some drink it privily; for if they drunk it openly, they 
should be reproved. But they drink good beverage and 
sweet and nourishing that is made of gallamelle and that 
is that men make sugar of, that is of right good savour, and 
it is good for the breast. 

Also it befalleth some-time, that Christian men become 


Saracens, either for poverty or for simpieness, or else for 
their own wickedness. And therefore the archflamen or 
the flamen, as our archbishop or bishop, when he receiveth 
them saith thus : La ellec olla Sila, Machomete rores alia ; 
that is to say, ' There is no God but one, and Mahomet 
his messenger.' 

Now I have told you a part of their law and of their 
customs, I shall say you of their letters that they have, 
with their names and the manner of their figures what 
they be : Almoy, Bethath, Cathi, Ephoti, Delphoi, Fothi, 
Garothi, Hechum, lotty, Kaythi, Lothum, Malach, 
Nabaloth, Orthi, Chesiri, 3och, Ruth, Holath, Routhi, 
Salathi, Thatimus, Yrthom, A3a3Oth, Arrocchi, 3otipyn, 
Ichetus. And these be the names of their a. b. c. Now 
shall ye know the figures. . . . And four letters they 
have more than other for diversity of their language and 
speech, forasmuch as they speak in their throats ; and we 
in England have in our language and speech two letters 
more than they have in their a. b. c. ; and that is > and 3, 
which be clept thorn and 3ogh. 


Of the lands of Albania and of Libia. Of the wishings for 
watching of the Sparrow-hawk; and of Noah's ship 

Now, sith I have told you before of the Holy Land and 
of that country about, and of many ways for to go to that 
land and to the Mount Sinai, and of Babylon the more and 
the less, and to other places that I have spoken before, now 
is time, if it like you, for to tell you of the marches and isles 
and diverse beasts, and of diverse folk beyond these marches. 
For in those countries beyond be many diverse countries 
and many great kingdoms, that be departed by the four 
floods that come from paradise terrestrial. For Mesopotamia 
and the kingdom of Chaldea and Arabia be between the two 


rivers of Tigris and of Euphrates ; and the kingdom of 
Media and of Persia be between the rivers of Nile and of 
Tigris ; and the kingdom of Syria, whereof I have spoken 
before, and Palestine and Phoenicia be between Euphrates 
and the sea Mediterranean, the which sea dureth in length 
from Morocco, upon the sea of Spain, unto the Great Sea, 
so that it lasteth beyond Constantinople 3040 miles of 

And toward the sea Ocean in Ind is the kingdom of 
Scythia, that is all closed with hills. And after, under 
Scythia, and from the sea of Caspian unto the flom of 
Thainy, is Amazonia, that is the land of feminye, where 
that no man is, but only all women. And after is Albania, 
a full great realm ; and it is clept Albania, because that 
the folk be whiter there than in other marches there-about : 
and in that country be so great hounds and so strong, 
that they assail lions and slay them. And then after is 
Hircania, Bactria, Hiberia and many other kingdoms. 

And between the Red Sea and the sea Ocean, toward the 
south is the kingdom of Ethiopia and of Lybia the higher, 
the which land of Lybia (that is to say, Lybia the low) that 
beginneth at the sea of Spain from thence where the pillars 
of Hercules be, and endureth unto anent Egypt and toward 
Ethiopia. In that country of Lybia is the sea more high 
than the land, and it seemeth that it would cover the earth, 
and natheles yet it passeth not his marks. And men 
see in that country a mountain to the which no man cometh. 
In this land of Lybia whoso turneth toward the east, the 
shadow of himself is on the right side ; and here, in our 
country, the shadow is on the left side. In that sea of 
Lybia is no fish ; for they may not live ne dure for the 
great heat of the sun, because that the water is evermore 
boiling for the great heat. And many other lands there be 
that it were too long to tell or to number. But of some 
parts I shall speak more plainly hereafter. 

Whoso will then go toward Tar tar y, toward Persia, 
toward Chaldea and toward Ind, he must enter the sea at 
Genoa or at Venice or at some other haven that I have told 
you before. And then pass men the sea and arrive at 



Trebizond that is a good city ; and it was wont to be the 
haven of Pontus. There is the haven of Persians and of 
Medians and of the marches there beyond. In that city 
lieth Saint Athanasius that was bishop of Alexandria, that 
made the psalm Quicunque vult. 

This Athanasius was a great doctor of divinity. And, 
because that he preached and spake so deeply of divinity 
and of the Godhead, he was accused to the Pope of Rome 
that he was an heretic. Wherefore the Pope sent after him 
and put him in prison. And whiles he was in prison he 
made that psalm and sent it to the Pope, and said, that if 
he were an heretic, then was that heresy, for that, he said, 
was his belief. And when the Pope saw it, and had examined 
it that it was perfect and good, and verily our faith and our 
belief, he made him to be delivered out of prison, and com- 
manded that psalm to be said every day at prime ; and so 
he held Athanasius a good man. But he would never go to 
his bishopric again, because that they accused him of heresy. 

Trebizond was wont to be holden of the Emperor of 
Constantinople ; but a great man, that he sent for to keep 
the country against the Turks, usurped the land and held 
it to himself, and cleped him Emperor of Trebizond. 

And from thence men go through Little Armenia. 
And in that country is an old castle that stands upon a 
rock ; the which is clept the castle of the Sparrow-hawk, 
that is beyond the city of Layays beside the town of 
Pharsipee, that belongeth to the lordship of Cruk, that is a 
rich lord and a good Christian man ; where men find a 
sparrow-hawk upon a perch right fair and right well made, 
and a fair lady of faerie that keepeth it. And who that 
will watch that sparrow-hawk seven days and seven nights, 
and, as some men say, three days and three nights, without 
company and without sleep, that fair lady shall give him, 
when he hath done, the first wish that he will wish of 
earthly things ; and that hath been proved often-times. 

And one time befell, that a King of Armenia, that was 
a worthy knight and doughty man, and a noble prince, 
watched that hawk some time. And at the end of seven 
days and seven nights the lady came to him and bade him 


wish, for he had well deserved it. And he answered that 
he was great lord enough, and well in peace, and had 
enough of worldly riches ; and therefore he would wish 
none other thing, but the body of that fair lady, to have it 
at his will. And she answered him, that he knew not 
what he asked, and said that he was a fool to desire that he 
might not have ; for she said that he should not ask but 
earthly thing, for she was none earthly thing, but a ghostly 
thing. And the king said that he ne would ask none other 
thing. And the lady answered ; " Sith that I may not 
withdraw you from your lewd corage, I shall give you 
without wishing, and to all them that shall come of you. 
Sir king ! ye shall have war without peace, and always to 
the nine degree, ye shall be in subjection of your enemies, 
and ye shall be needy of all goods." And never since, 
neither the King of Armenia nor the country were never 
in peace ; ne they had never sith plenty of goods ; and 
they have been sithen always under tribute of the Saracens. 

Also the son of a poor man watched that hawk and wished 
that he might chieve well, and to be happy to merchandise. 
And the lady granted him. And he became the most rich 
and the most famous merchant that might be on sea or on 
earth. And he became so rich that he knew not the 
thousand part of that he had. And he was wiser in wish- 
ing than was the king. 

Also a knight of the Temple watched there, and wished a 
purse evermore full of gold. And the lady granted him. 
But she said him that he had asked the destruction of their 
order for the trust and the affiance of that purse, and for 
the great pride that they should have. And so it was. And 
therefore look he keep him well, that shall wake. For 
if he sleep he is lost, that never man shall see him more. 

This is not the right way for to go to the parts that I 
have named before, but for to see the marvel that I have 
spoken of. And therefore whoso will go right way, men 
go from Trebizond toward Armenia the Great unto a city 
that is clept Erzeroum, that was wont to be a good city 
and a plenteous ; but the Turks have greatly wasted it. 
There-about groweth no wine nor fruit, but little or else 


none. In this land is the earth more high than in any 
other, and that maketh great cold. And there be many 
good waters and good wells that come under earth from 
the flom of Paradise, that is clept Euphrates, that is a 
journey beside that city ; and that river cometh towards Ind 
under earth, and resorteth into the land of Altazar. And 
so pass men by this Armenia and enter the sea of Persia. 

From that city of Erzeroum go men to an hill that is 
clept Sabissocolle. And there beside is another hill that 
men clepe Ararat, but the Jews clepe it Taneez, where 
Noah's ship rested, and yet is upon that mountain. And 
men may see it afar in clear weather. And that mountain 
is well a seven mile high. And some men say that they 
have seen and touched the ship, and put their fingers in 
the parts where the fiend went out, when that Noah said, 
Benedicite. But they that say such words, say their will. 
For a man may not go up the mountain, for great plenty 
of snow that is always on that mountain, neither summer 
nor winter. So that no man may go up there, ne 
never man did, since the time of Noah, save a monk that, 
by the grace of God, brought one of the planks down, 
that yet is in the minster at the foot of the mountain. 

And beside is the city of Dain that Noah founded. 
And fast by is the city of Any in the which were 
wont to be a thousand churches. 

But upon that mountain to go up, this monk had great 
desire. And so upon a day, he went up. And when he 
was upward the three part of the mountain he was so 
weary that he might no further, and so he rested him, and 
fell asleep. And when he awoke he found himself lying 
at the foot of the mountain. And then he prayed devoutly 
to God that he would vouchsafe to suffer him go up. 
And an angel came to him, and said that he should go up. 
And so he did. And sith that time never none. Where- 
fore men should not believe such words. 

From that mountain go men to the city of Thauriso 
that was wont to be clept Taxis, that is a full fair city and 
a great, and one of the best that is in the world for mer- 
chandise ; thither come all merchants for to buy avoir- 


dupois, and it is in the land of the Emperor of Persia. 
And men say that the emperor taketh more good in that 
city for custom of merchandise than doth the richest 
Christian king of all his realm that liveth. For the toll 
and the custom of his merchants is without estimation 
to be numbered. Beside that city is a hill of salt, and of 
that salt every man taketh what he will for to salt with, 
to his need. There dwell many Christian men under 
tribute of Saracens. And from that city, men pass by 
many towns and castles in going toward Ind unto the city 
of Sadonia, that is a ten journeys from Thauriso, and it is 
a full noble city and a great. And there dwelleth the 
Emperor of Persia in summer ; for the country is cold 
enough. And there be good rivers bearing ships. 

After go men the way toward Ind by many journeys, 
and by many countries, unto the city that is clept Cassak, 
and that is a full noble city, and a plenteous of corns and 
wines and of all other goods. This is the city where the 
three kings met together when they went to seek our Lord 
in Bethlehem to worship him and to present him with 
gold, incense, and myrrh. And it is from that city to 
Bethlehem fifty-three journeys. From that city men go 
to another city that is clept Get he, that is a journey from 
the sea that men clepe the Gravelly Sea. That is the best 
city that the Emperor of Persia hath in all his land. And 
they clepe flesh there Dabago and the wine Vapa. And 
the Paynims say that no Christian man may not long 
dwell ne endure with the life in that city, but die within 
short time ; and no man knoweth not the cause. 

After go men by many cities and towns and great 
countries that it were too long to tell unto the city of 
Cornaa that was wont to be so great that the walls about 
hold twenty-five mile about. The walls shew yet, but it 
is not all inhabited. From Cornaa go men by many lands 
and many cities and towns unto the land of Job. And 
there endeth the land of the Emperor of Persia. And if 
ye will know the letters of Persians and what names they 
have, they be such as I last devised you, but not in 
sounding of their words. 



Of the land of Job ; and of his age. Of the array of 
men of Chaldea. Of the land where women dwell 
without company of men. Of the knowledge and virtues 
of the very diamond 

AFTER the departing from Cornaa, men enter into the 
land of Job that is a full fair country and a plenteous 
of all goods. And men clepe that land the Land of Susiana. 
In that land is the city of Theman. 

Job was a paynim, and he was Aram of Gosre, his son, 
and held that land as prince of that country. And he was 
so rich that he knew not the hundred part of his goods. 
And although he were a paynim, nevertheless he served 
well God after his law. And our Lord took his service to 
his pleasane. And when he fell in poverty he was seventy- 
eight year of age. And after, when God had proved his 
patience and that it was so great, he brought him again to 
riches and to higher estate than he was before. And after 
that he was King of Idumea after King Esau, and when he 
was king he was clept Jobab. And in that kingdom he 
lived after 170 year. And so he was of age, when he died, 
248 year. 

In that land of Job there ne is no default of no thing 
that is needful to man's body. There be hills, where men 
get great plenty of manna in greater abundance than in any 
other country. This manna is clept bread of angels. And 
it is a white thing that is full sweet and right delicious, 
and more sweet than honey or sugar. And it cometh of 
the dew of heaven that falleth upon the herbs in that 
country. And it congealeth and becometh all white and 
sweet. And men put it in medicines for rich men to 
make the womb lax, and to purge evil blood. For it 
cleanseth the blood and putteth out melancholy. This 
land of Job marcheth to the kingdom of Chaldea. 

This land of Chaldea is full great. And the language 


of that country is more great in sounding than it is in 
other parts beyond the sea. Men pass to go beyond by 
the Tower of Babylon the Great, of the which I have told 
you before, where that all the languages were first changed. 
And that is a four journeys from Chaldea. In that realm be 
fair men, and they go full nobly arrayed in clothes of gold, 
orfrayed and apparelled with great pearls and precious 
stones full nobly. And the women be right foul and evil 
arrayed. And they go all bare-foot and clothed in evil 
garments large and wide, but they be short to the knees, 
and long sleeves down to the feet like a monk's frock, 
and their sleeves be hanging about their shoulders. And 
they be black women foul and hideous, and truly as foul 
as they be, as evil they be. 

In that kingdom of Chaldea, in a city that is clept Ur, 
dwelled Terah, Abraham's father. And there was Abraham 
born. And that was in that time that Ninus was king of 
Babylon, of Arabia and of Egypt. This Ninus made 
the city of Nineveh, the which that Noah had begun 
before. And because that Ninus performed it, he cleped 
it Nineveh after his own name. There lieth Tobit the 
prophet, of whom Holy Writ speaketh of. And from that 
city of Ur Abraham departed, by the commandment of 
God, from thence, after the death of his father, and led 
with him Sarah his wife and Lot his brother's son, because 
that he had no child. And they went to dwell in the land 
of Canaan in a place that is clept Shechem. And this Lot 
was he that was saved, when Sodom and Gomorrah and 
the other cities were burnt and sunken down to hell, where 
that the Dead Sea is now, as I have told you before. In 
that land of Chaldea they have their proper languages and 
their proper letters, such as ye may see hereafter. 

Beside the land of Chaldea is the land of Amazonia, 
that is the land of Feminye. And in that realm is all 
women and no man ; not, as some men say, that men may 
not live there, but for because that the women will not 
suffer no men amongst them to be their sovereigns. 

For sometime there was a king in that country. And 
men married, as in other countries. And so befell 


that the king had war with them of Scythia, the which 
king hight Colopeus, that was slain in battle, and all 
the good blood of his realm. And when the queen and 
all the other noble ladies saw that they were all widows, 
and that all the royal blood was lost, they armed them 
and, as creatures out of wit, they slew all the men of the 
country that were left ; for they would that all the women 
were widows as the queen and they were. And from that 
time hitherwards they never would suffer man to dwell 
amongst them longer than seven days and seven nights ; 
ne that no child that were male should dwell amongst 
them longer than he were nourished ; and then sent to his 
father. And when they will have any company of man 
then they draw them towards the lands marching next to 
them. And then they have loves that use them ; and they 
dwell with them an eight days or ten, and then go home 
again. And if they have any knave child they keep it a 
certain time, and then send it to the father when he can go 
alone and eat by himself; or else they slay it. And if it 
be a female they do away that one pap with an hot iron. 
And if it be a woman of great lineage they do away the 
left pap that they may the better bear a shield. And if it 
be a woman on foot they do away the right pap, 
for to shoot with bow turkeys : for they shoot well 
with bows. 

In that land they have a queen that governeth all that 
land, and all they be obeissant to her. And always they 
make her queen by election that is most worthy in arms ; 
for they be right good warriors and orped, and wise, noble 
and worthy. And they go oftentime in solde to help of 
other kings in their wars, for gold and silver as other 
soldiers do ; and they maintain themselves right vigourously. 
This land of Amazonia is an isle, all environed with the 
sea save in two places, where be two entries. And beyond 
that water dwell the men that be their paramours and their 
loves, where they go to solace them when they will. 

Beside Amazonia is the land of Tarmegyte that is a 
great country and a full delectable. And for the goodness 
of the country King Alexander let first make there the 


city of Alexandria, and yet he made twelve cities of the 
same name ; but that city is now clept Celsite. 

And from that other coast of Chaldea, toward the south, 
is Ethiopia, a great country that stretcheth to the end of 
Egypt. Ethiopia is departed in two parts principal, and 
that is in the east part and in the meridional part ; the 
which part meridional is clept Mauritania ; and the folk of 
that country be black enough and more black than in the 
tother part, and they be clept Moors. In that part is a 
well, that in the day it is so cold, that no man may drink 
thereof; and in the night it is so hot, that no man may 
suffer his hand therein. And beyond that part, toward the 
south, to pass by the sea Ocean, is a great land and a great 
country ; but men may not dwell there for the fervent 
burning of the sun, so is it passing hot in that country. 

In Ethiopia all the rivers and all the waters be trouble, 
and they be somedeal salt for the great heat that is there. 
And the folk of that country be lightly drunken and have 
but little appetite to meat. And they have commonly the 
flux of the womb. And they live not long. In Ethiopia 
be many diverse folk ; and Ethiope is clept Cusis. In 
that country be folk that have but one foot, and they go 
so blyve that it is marvel. And the foot is so large, that it 
shadoweth all the body against the sun, when they will lie 
and rest them. In Ethiopia, when the children be young 
and little, they be all yellow ; and, when that they wax of 
age, that yellowness turneth to be all black. In Ethiopia 
is the city of Saba, and the land of the which one of 
the three kings that presented our Lord in Bethlehem, 
was king of. 

From Ethiopia men go into Ind by many diverse coun- 
tries. And men clepe the high Ind, Emlak. And Ind 
is divided in three principal parts ; that is, the more 
that is a full hot country ; and Ind the less, that is a 
full attempre country, that stretcheth to the land of 
Media ; and the three part toward the septentrion is full 
cold, so that, for pure cold and continual frost, the water 
becometh crystal. And upon those rocks of crystal grow 
the good diamonds that be of trouble colour. Yellow 


crystal draweth colour like oil. And they be so hard, 
that no man may polish them. And men clepe them 
diamonds in that country, and Hamese in another country. 
Other diamonds men find in Arabia that be not so good, 
and they be more brown and more tender. And other 
diamonds also men find in the isle of Cyprus, that be yet 
more tender, and them men may well polish. And in the 
land of Macedonia men find diamonds also. But the best 
and the most precious be in Ind. 

And men find many times hard diamonds in a mass that 
cometh out of gold, when men pure it and refine it out 
of the mine ; when men break that mass in small pieces, 
and sometime it happens that men find some as great as a 
peas and some less, and they be as hard as those of Ind. 

And albeit that men find good diamonds in Ind, yet 
nevertheless men find them more commonly upon the 
rocks in the sea and upon hills where the mine of gold is. 
And they grow many together, one little, another great. 
And there be some of the greatness of a bean and some as 
great as an hazel nut. And they be square and pointed of 
their own kind, both above and beneath, without working 
of man's hand. And they grow together, male and female. 
And they be nourished with the dew of heaven. And 
they engender commonly and bring forth small children, 
that multiply and grow all the year. I have often-times 
assayed, that if a man keep them with a little of the rock 
and wet them with May-dew oft-sithes, they shall grow 
every year, and the small will wax great. For right as the 
fine pearl congealeth and waxeth great of the dew of 
heaven, right so doth the very diamond ; and right as the 
pearl of his own kind taketh roundness, right so the 
diamond, by virtue of God, taketh squareness. And men 
shall bear the diamond on his left side, for it is of greater 
virtue then, than on the right side ; for the strength of 
their growing is toward the north, that is the left side of 
the world, and the left part of man is when he turneth his 
face toward the east. 

And if you like to know the virtues of the diamond, (as 
men may find in The Lapidary that many men know not), 


I shall tell you, as they beyond the sea say and affirm, of 
whom all science and all philosophy cometh from. He 
that beareth the diamond upon him, it giveth him hardi- 
ness and manhood, and it keepeth the limbs of his body 
whole. It giveth him victory of his enemies in plea and in 
war, if his cause be rightful. And it keepeth him that 
beareth it in good wit. And it keepeth him from strife 
and riot, from evil swevens from sorrows and from en- 
chantments, and from fantasies and illusions of wicked 
spirits. And if any cursed witch or enchanter would bewitch 
him that beareth the diamond, all that sorrow and mischance 
shall turn to himself through virtue of that stone. And 
also no wild beast dare assail the man that beareth it on 
him. Also the diamond should be given freely, without 
coveting and without buying, and then it is of greater 
virtue. And it maketh a man more strong and more 
sad against his enemies. And it healeth him that is lunatic, 
and them that the fiend pursueth or travaileth. And if 
venom or poison be brought in presence of the diamond, 
anon it beginneth to wax moist and for to sweat. 

There be also diamonds in Ind that be clept violas tres, 
(for their colour is like violet, or more brown than the 
violets), that be full hard and full precious. But yet some 
men love not them so well as the other ; but, in sooth, to 
me, I would love them as much as the other, for I have 
seen them assayed. 

Also there is another manner of diamonds that be as 
white as crystal, but they be a little more trouble. And 
they be good and of great virtue, and all they be square 
and pointed of their own kind. And some be six squared, 
some four squared, and some three as nature shapeth them. 
And therefore when great lords and knights go to seek 
worship in arms, they bear gladly the diamond upon them. 

I shall speak a little more of the diamonds, although I 
tarry my matter for a time, to the end, that they that know 
them not, be not deceived by gabbers that go by the country, 
that sell them. For whoso will buy the diamond it is 
needful to him that he know them. Because that men 
counterfeit them often of crystal that is yellow and of 


sapphires of citron colour that is yellow also, and of the 
sapphire loupe and of many other stones. But I tell you 
these counterfeits be not so hard ; and also the points will 
break lightly, and men may easily polish them. But some 
workmen, for malice, will not polish them ; to that intent, 
to make men believe that they may not be polished. But 
men may assay them in this manner. First shear with 
them or write with them in sapphires, in crystal or in other 
precious stones. After that, men take the adamant, that is 
the shipman's stone, that draweth the needle to him, and 
men lay the diamond upon the adamant, and lay the needle 
before the adamant; and, if the diamond be good and 
virtuous, the adamant draweth not the needle to him 
whiles the diamond is there present. And this is the proof 
that they beyond the sea make. 

Natheles it befalleth often-time, that the good diamond 
loseth his virtue by sin, and for incontinence of him that 
beareth it. And then it is needful to make it to recover 
his virtue again, or else it is of little value. 


Of the customs of Isles about Ind. Of the difference betwixt 
Idols and Simulacres. Of three manner growing of 
Pepper upon one tree. Of the Well that changeth his 
odour every hour of the day ; and that is marvel 

IN Ind be full many diverse countries. And it is clept 
Ind, for a flom that runneth throughout the country that 
is clept Ind. In that flom men find eels of thirty foot 
long and more. And the folk that dwell nigh that water 
be of evil colour, green and yellow. 

In Ind and about Ind be more than 5000 isles good and 
great that men dwell in, without those that be inhabitable, 
and without other small isles. In every isle is great plenty 
of cities, and of towns, and of folk without number. For 


men of Ind have this condition of kind, that they never go out 
of their own country, and therefore is there great multitude 
of people. But they be not stirring ne movable, because 
that they be in the first climate, that is of Saturn ; 
and Saturn is slow and little moving, for he tarryeth to 
make his turn by the twelve signs thirty year. And the 
moon passeth through the twelve signs in one month. 
And for because that Saturn is of so late stirring, therefore 
the folk of that country that be under his climate have of 
kind no will for to move ne stir to seek strange places. 
And in our country is all the contrary ; for we be in the 
seventh climate, that is of the moon. And the moon is 
of lightly moving, and the moon is planet of way ; and for 
that skill it giveth us will of kind for to move lightly and 
for to go divers ways, and to seek strange things and other 
diversities of the world ; for the moon environeth the 
earth more hastily than any other planet. 

Also men go through Ind by many diverse countries to 
the great sea Ocean. And after, men find there an isle 
that is clept Crues. And thither come merchants of 
Venice and Genoa, and of other marches, for to buy mer- 
chandises. But there is so great heat in those marches, 
and namely in that isle, that, for the great distress of the 
heat, men's ballocks hang down to their knees for the 
great dissolution of the body. And men of that country, 
that know the manner, let bind them up, or else might 
they not live, and anoint them with ointments made there- 
fore, to hold them up. 

In that country and in Ethiopia, and in many other 
countries, the folk lie all naked in rivers and waters, men 
and women together, from undern of the day till it be 
past the noon. And they lie all in the water, save the 
visage, for the great heat that there is. And the women 
have no shame of the men, but lie all together, side to 
side, till the heat be past. There may men see many foul 
figure assembled, and namely nigh the good towns. 

In that isle be ships without nails of iron or bonds, for 
the rocks of the adamants, for they be all full thereabout 
in that sea, that it is marvel to speak of. And if a ship 


passed by those marches that had either iron bonds or iron 
nails, anon he should be perished ; for the adamant of his 
kind draweth the iron to him. And so would it draw to 
him the ship because of the iron, that he should never 
depart from it, ne never go thence. 

From that isle men go by sea to another isle that is 
clept Ghana, where is great plenty of corn and wine. And 
it was wont to be a great isle, and a great haven and a 
good ; but the sea hath greatly wasted it and overcome it. 
The king of that country was wont to be so strong and so 
mighty that he held war against King Alexander. 

The folk of that country have a diverse lav/. For some 
of them worship the sun, some the moon, some the fire, 
some trees, some serpents, or the first thing that they meet 
at morrow. And some worship simulacres and some 
idols. But between simulacres and idols is a great differ- 
ence. For simulacres be images made after likeness of 
men or of women, or of the sun, or of the moon, or of 
any beast, or of any kindly thing. And idols is an image 
made of lewd will of man, that man may not find among 
kindly things, as an image that hath four heads, one of a 
man, another of an horse or of an ox, or of some other 
beast, that no man hath seen after kindly disposition. 

And they that worship simulacres, they worship them 
for some worthy man that was sometime, as Hercules, and 
many other that did many marvels in their time. For 
they say well that they be not gods ; for they know well 
that there is a God of kind that made all things, the which 
is in heaven. But they know well that this may not do the 
marvels that he made, but if it had been by the special gift 
of God ; and therefore they say that he was well with God, 
and for because that he was so well with God, therefore they 
worship him. And so say they of the sun, because that he 
changeth the time, and giveth heat, and nourisheth all 
things upon earth ; and for it is of so great profit, they 
know well that that might not be, but that God loveth it 
more than any other thing, and, for that skill, God hath 
given it more great virtue in the world. Therefore, it is 
good reason, as they say, to do it worship and reverence. 


And so say they, and make their reasons, of other planets, 
and of the fire also, because it is so profitable. 

And of idols they say also that the ox is the most holy 
beast that is in earth and most patient, and more profitable 
than any other. For he doth good enough and he doth 
no evil ; and they know well that it may not be without 
special grace of God. And therefore make they their god 
of an ox the one part, and the other half of a man. 
Because that man is the most noble creature in earth, and 
also for he hath lordship above all beasts, therefore make 
they the halvendel of idol of a man upwards ; and the tother 
half of an ox downwards, and of serpents, and of other 
beasts and diverse things, that they worship, that they meet 
first at morrow. 

And they worship also specially all those that they have 
good meeting of; and when they speed well in their journey, 
after their meeting, and namely such as they have proved 
and assayed by experience of long time ; for they say that 
thilk good meeting ne may not come but of the grace of God. 
And therefore they make images like to those things that 
they have belief in, for to behold them and worship them 
first at morning, or they meet any contrarious things. And 
there be also some Christian men that say, that some beasts 
have good meeting, that is to say for to meet with them 
first at morrow, and some beasts wicked meeting ; and 
that they have proved oft-time that the hare hath full evil 
meeting, and swine and many other beasts. And the 
sparrow-hawk or other fowls of ravine, when they fly 
after their prey and take it before men of arms, it is a good 
sign ; and if he fail of taking his prey, it is an evil sign. 
And also to such folk, it is an evil meeting of ravens. 

In these things and in such other, there be many folk 
that believe; because it happeneth so often-time to fall 
after their fantasies. And also there be men enough that 
have no belief in them. And, sith that Christian men 
have such belief, that be informed and taught all day by 
holy doctrine, wherein they should believe, it is no marvel 
then, that the paynims, that have no good doctrine but only 
of their nature, believe more largely for their simplesse. 


And truly I have seen of paynims and Saracens that 
men clepe Augurs, that, when we ride in arms in divers 
countries upon our enemies, by the flying of fowls they 
would tell us the prognostications of things that fell after ; 
and so they did full oftentimes, and proffered their heads 
to-wedde, but if it would fall as they said. But natheles, 
therefore should not a man put his belief in such things, 
but always have full trust and belief in God our sovereign 

This isle of Ghana the Saracens have won and hold. In 
that isle be many lions and many other wild beasts. And 
there be rats in that isle as great as hounds here ; and men 
take them with great mastiffs, for cats may not take them. 
In this isle and many other men bury not no dead men, for 
the heat is there so great, that in a little time the flesh will 
consume from the bones. 

From thence men go by sea toward Ind the more to a 
city, that men clepe Sarche, that is a fair city and a good. 
And there dwell many Christian men of good faith. And 
there be many religious men, and namely of mendicants. 

After go men by sea to the land of Lomb. In that 
land groweth the pepper in the forest that men clepe 
Combar. And it groweth nowhere else in all the world, 
but in that forest, and that endureth well an eighteen 
journeys in length. In the forest be two good cities; 
that one hight Fladrine and that other Zinglantz, and 
in every of them dwell Christian men and Jews, great 
plenty. For it is a good country and a plentiful, but there 
is overmuch passing heat. 

And ye shall understand, that the pepper groweth in 
manner as doth a wild vine that is planted fast by the 
trees of that wood for to sustain it by, as doth the vine. 
And the fruit thereof hangeth in manner as raisins. And 
the tree is so thick charged, that it seemeth that it 
would break. And when it is ripe it is all green, as it 
were ivy berries. And then men cut them, as men do the 
vines, and then they put it upon an oven, and there it 
waxeth black and crisp. And there is three manner of 
pepper all upon one tree ; long pepper, black pepper and 


white pepper. The long pepper men clepe Sorbotin, and 
the black pepper is clept Fulfulle, and the white pepper is 
clept Bano. The long pepper cometh first when the leaf 
beginneth to come, and it is like the cats of hazel that 
cometh before the leaf, and it hangeth low. And after 
cometh the black with the leaf, in manner of clusters of 
raisins, all green. And when men have gathered it, then 
cometh the white that is somedeal less than the black. 
And of that men bring but little into this country ; for 
they beyond withhold it for themselves, because it is 
better and more attempre in kind than the black. And 
therefore is there not so great plenty as of the black. 

In that country be many manner of serpents and of 
other vermin for the great heat of the country and of the 
pepper. And some men say, that when they will gather 
the pepper, they make fire, and burn about to make the 
serpents and the cockodrills to flee. But save their grace 
of all that say so. For if they burnt about the trees that 
bear, the pepper should be burnt, and it would dry up 
all the virtue, as of any other thing ; and then they did 
themselves much harm, and they should never quench the 
fire. But thus they do : they anoint their hands and their 
feet [with a juice] made of snails and of other things made 
therefore, of the which the serpents and the venomous 
beasts hate and dread the savour ; and that maketh them 
flee before them, because of the smell, and then they 
gather it surely enough. 

Also toward the head of that forest is the city of Polombe. 
And above the city is a great mountain that also is clept 
Polombe. And of that mount the city hath his name. 

And at the foot of that mount is a fair well and a great, 
that hath odour and savour of all spices. And at every 
hour of the day he changeth his odour and his savour 
diversely. And whoso drinketh three times fasting of 
that water of that well he is whole of all manner sickness 
that he hath. And they that dwell there and drink often 
of that well they never have sickness ; and they seem 
always young. I have drunken thereof three or four 
sithes, and yet, methinketh, I fare the better. Some men 


clepe it the well of youth. For they that often drink 
thereof seem always young-like, and live without sickness. 
And men say, that that well cometh out of Paradise, and 
therefore it is so virtuous. 

By all that country groweth good ginger, and therefore 
thither go the merchants for spicery. 

In that land men worship the ox for his simpleness and 
for his meekness, and for the profit that cometh of him. 
And they say, that he is the holiest beast in earth. For 
them seemeth, that whosoever be meek and patient, he is 
holy and profitable ; for then, they say, he hath all virtues 
in him. They make the ox to labour six year or seven, 
and then they eat him. And the king of the country hath 
alway an ox with him. And he that keepeth him hath 
every day great fees, and keepeth every day his dung 
and his urine in two vessels of gold, and bring it before 
their prelate that they clepe Archi-protopapaton. And he 
beareth it before the king and maketh there over a great 
blessing. And then the king wetteth his hands there, in 
that they clepe gall, and anoint eth his front and his breast. 
And after, he froteth him with the dung and with the 
urine with great reverence, for to be fullfilled of virtues 
of the ox and made holy by the virtue of that holy thing 
that nought is worth. And when the king hath done, 
then do the lords ; and after them their ministers and 
other men, if they may have any remenant. 

In that country they make idols, halt man half ox. 
And in those idols evil spirits speak and give answer to 
men of what is asked them. Before these idols men slay 
their children many times, and spring the blood upon the 
idols ; and so they make their sacrifice. 

And when any man dieth in the country they burn his 
body in name of penance ; to that intent, that he suffer no 
pain in earth to be eaten of worms. And if his wife have 
no child they burn her with him, and say, that it is reason, 
that she make him company in that other world as she did 
in this. But and she have children with him, they let her 
live with them, to bring them up if she will. And if that 
she love more to live with her children than for to die 


with her husband, men hold her for false and cursed ; ne 
she shall never be loved ne trusted of the people. And 
if the woman die before the husband, men burn him with 
her, if that he will ; and if he will not, no man constraineth 
him thereto, but he may wed another time without blame 
or reproof. 

In that country grow many strong vines. And the 
women drink wine, and men not. And the women shave 
their beards, and the men not. 


Of the Dooms made by St. Thomas s hand. Of devotion and 
sacrifice made to Idols there, in the city of Calamye; and 
of the Procession in going about the city 

FROM that country men pass by many marches toward 
a country, a ten journeys thence, that is clept Mabaron ; 
and it is a great kingdom, and it hath many fair cities and 

In that kingdom lieth the body of Saint Thomas the 
apostle in flesh and bone, in a fair tomb in the city 
of Calamye ; for there he was martyred and buried. And 
men of Assyria bare his body into Mesopotamia into the 
city of Edessa, and after, he was brought thither again. 
And the arm and the hand that he put in our Lord's side, 
when he appeared to him after his resurrection and said to 
him, Noli esse incredulus, sed fidelis, is yet lying in a vessel 
without the tomb. And by that hand they make all their 
judgments in the country, whoso hath right or wrong. 
For when there is any dissension between two parties, and 
every of them maintaineth his cause, and saith that his 
cause is rightful, and that other saith the contrary, then 
both parties write their causes in two bills and put them 
in the hand of Saint Thomas. And anon he casteth 
away the bill of the wrong cause and holdeth still the 


bill with the right cause. And therefore men come from 
far countries to have judgment of doubtable causes. And 
other judgment use they none there. 

Also the church, where Saint Thomas lieth, is both 
great and fair, and all full of great simulacres, and those 
be great images that they clepe their gods, of the which 
the least is as great as two men. 

And, amongst these other, there is a great image more 
than any of the other, that is all covered with fine gold and 
precious stones and rich pearls ; and that idol is the god of 
false Christians that have reneyed their faith. And it 
sitteth in a chair of gold, full nobly arrayed, and he hath 
about his neck large girdles wrought of gold and precious 
stones and pearls. And this church is full richly wrought 
and, all overgilt within. And to that idol go men on 
pilgrimage, as commonly and with as great devotion 
as Christian men go to Saint James, or other holy pilgrim- 
ages. And many folk that come from far lands to seek 
that idol for the great devotion that they have, they 
look never upward, but evermore down to the earth, 
for dread to see anything about them that should let them 
of their devotion. And some there be that go on pilgrim- 
age to this idol, that bear knives in their hands, that 
be made full keen and sharp; and always as they go, 
they smite themselves in their arms and in their legs and 
in their thighs with many hideous wounds ; and so they 
shed their blood for love of that idol. And they say, that 
he is blessed and holy, that dieth so for love of his 
god. And other there be that lead their children for to 
slay, to make sacrifice to that idol ; and after they have 
slain them they spring the blood upon the idol. And 
some there be that come from far ; and in going toward 
this idol, at every third pace that they go from their 
house, they kneel ; and so continue till they come thither : 
and when they come there, they take incense and other 
aromatic things of noble smell, and cense the idol, as 
we would do here God's precious body. And so come 
folk to worship this idol, some from an hundred mile, and 
some from many more. 


And before the minster of this idol, is a vivary, in 
manner of a great lake, full of water. And therein 
pilgrims cast gold and silver, pearls and precious stones 
without number, instead of offerings. And when the 
ministers of that church need to make any reparation of 
the church or of any of the idols, they take gold and 
silver, pearls and precious stones out of the vivary, to 
quit the costage of such thing as they make or repair ; so 
that nothing is faulty, but anon it shall be amended. And 
ye shall understand, that when [there be] great feasts and 
solemnities of that idol, as the dedication of the church 
and the throning of the idol, all the country about meet 
there together. And they set this idol upon a car with 
great reverence, well arrayed with cloths of gold, of rich 
cloths of Tartary, of Camaka, and other precious cloths. 
And they lead him about the city with great solemnity. 
And before the car go first in procession all the maidens of 
the country, two and two together full ordinatly. And 
after those maidens go the pilgrims. And some of them 
fall down under the wheels of the car, and let the car go 
over them, so that they be dead anon. And some have 
their arms or their limbs all to-broken, and some the sides. 
And all this do they for love of their god, in great 
devotion. And them thinketh that the more pain, and the 
more tribulation that they suffer for love of their god, the 
more joy they shall have in another world. And, shortly 
to say you, they suffer so great pains, and so hard martyr- 
doms for love of their idol, that a Christian man, I trow, 
durst not take upon him the tenth part the pain for love 
of our Lord Jesu Christ. And after, I say you, before the 
car, go all the minstrels of the country without number, 
with diverse instruments, and they make all the melody 
that they can. 

And when they have gone all about the city, then they 
return again to the minster, and put the idol again into his 
place. And then for the love and in worship of that idol, 
and for the reverence of the feast, they slay themselves, a 
wo hundred or three hundred persons, with sharp knives, 
of the which they bring the bodies before the idol. And 


then they say that those be saints, because that they slew 
themselves of their own good will for love of their idol. 
And as men here that had an holy saint of his kin would 
think that it were to them an high worship, right so them 
thinketh there. And as men here devoutly would write 
holy saints' lives and their miracles, and sue for their 
canonizations, right so do they there for them that slay 
themselves wilfully for love of their idol, and say, that 
they be glorious martyrs and saints, and put them in their 
writings and in their litanies, and avaunt them greatly, one 
to another, of their holy kinsmen that so become saints, 
and say, I have more holy saints in my kindred, than thou 
in thine ! 

And the custom also there is this, that when they that 
have such devotion and intent for to slay himself for 
love of his god, they send for all their friends, and have 
great plenty of minstrels ; and they go before the idol 
leading him that will slay himself for such devotion be- 
tween them, with great reverence. And he, all naked, 
hath a full sharp knife in his hand, and he cutteth a great 
piece of his flesh, and casteth it in the face of his idol, 
saying his orisons, recommending him to his god. And 
then he smiteth himself and maketh great wounds and 
deep, here and there, till he fall down dead. And then 
his friends present his body to the idol. And then they 
say, singing, Holy god ! behold what thy true servant hath 
done for thee. He hath forsaken his wife and his children 
and his riches, and all the goods of the world and his own 
life for the love of thee, and to make thee sacrifice of his 
flesh and of his blood. Wherefore, holy god, put him 
among thy best beloved saints in thy bliss of paradise, for 
he hath well deserved it. And then they make a great 
fire, and burn the body. And then everych of his 
friends take a quantity of the ashes, and keep them instead 
of relics, and say that it is holy thing. And they have 
no dread of no peril whiles they have those holy ashes 
upon them. And [they] put his name in their litanies as a 



Of the evil customs used in the Isle of Lamary. And how the 
earth and the sea be of round form and shape, by proof of 
the star that is clept Antarctic, that is fixed in the south 

FROM that country go men by the sea ocean, and by 
many divers isles and by many countries that were too 
long for to tell of. And a fifty-two journeys from this 
land that I have spoken of, there is another land, that 
is full great, that men clepe Lamary. In that land is full 
great heat. And the custom there is such, that men and 
women go all naked. And they scorn when they see any 
strange folk going clothed. And they say, that God 
made Adam and Eve all naked, and that no man should 
shame him to shew him such as God made him, for 
nothing is foul that is of kindly nature. And they 
say, that they that be clothed be folk of another world, 
or they be folk that trow not in God. And they say, 
that they believe in God that formed the world, and that 
made Adam and Eve and all other things. And they 
wed there no wives, for all the women there be common 
and they forsake no man. And they say they sin if they 
refuse any man ; and so God commanded to Adam and 
Eve and to all that come of him, when he said, Crescite et 
multiplicamini et replete terram. And therefore may no man 
in that country say, This is my wife ; ne no woman may 
say, This my husband. And when they have children, 
they may give them to what man they will that hath com- 
panied with them. And also all the land is common ; for 
all that a man holdeth one year, another man hath it 
another year ; and every man taketh what part that him 
liketh. And also all the goods of the land be common, 
corns and all other things : for nothing there is kept in 
close, ne nothing there is under lock, and every man 
there taketh what he will without any contradiction, and as 
rich is one man there as is another. 


But in that country there is a cursed custom, for they 
eat more gladly man's flesh than any other flesh ; and yet 
is that country abundant of flesh, of fish, of corns, of gold 
and silver, and of all other goods. Thither go merchants 
and bring with them children to sell to them of the country, 
and they buy them. And if they be fat they eat them 
anon. And if they be lean they feed them till they be fat, 
and then they eat them. And they say, that it is the best 
flesh and the sweetest of all the world. 

In that land, ne in many other beyond that, no man 
may see the Star Transmontane, that is clept the Star of the 
Sea, that is unmovable and that is toward the north, that 
we clepe the Lode-star. But men see another star, the 
contrary to him, that is toward the south, that is clept 
Antartic. And right as the ship-men take their advice here 
and govern them by the Lode-star, right so do ship-men 
beyond those parts by the star of the south, the which star 
appeareth not to us. And this star that is toward the north, 
that we clepe the Lode-star, ne appeareth not to them. 
For which cause men may well perceive, that the land and 
the sea be of round shape and form ; for the part of the 
firmament sheweth in one country that sheweth not in 
another country. And men may well prove by experience 
and subtle compassment of wit, that if a man found passages 
by ships that would go to search the world, men might go 
by ship all about the world and above and beneath. 

The which thing I prove thus after that I have seen. 
For I have been toward the parts of Brabant, and beholden 
the Astrolabe that the star that is clept the Transmontane 
is fifty-three degrees high ; and more further in Almayne 
and Bohemia it hath fifty-eight degrees ; and more further 
toward the parts septentrional it is sixty-two degrees of 
height and certain minutes ; for I myself have measured it 
by the Astrolabe. Now shall ye know, that against the 
Transmontane is the tother star that is clept Antarctic, as I 
have said before. And those two stars ne move never, and 
by them turneth all the firmament right as doth a wheel 
that turneth by his axle-tree. So that those stars bear the 
firmament in two equal parts, so that it hath as much 


above as it hath beneath. After this, I have gone toward 
the parts meridional, that is, toward the south, and I have 
found that in Lybia men see first the star Antarctic. And 
so far I have gone more further in those countries, that I 
have found that star more high ; so that toward the High 
Lybia it is eighteen degrees of height and certain minutes 
(of the which sixty minutes make a degree). After going 
by sea and by land toward this country of that I have 
spoken, and to other isles and lands beyond that country, 
I have found the Star Antarctic of thirty-three degrees of 
height and more minutes. And if I had had company and 
shipping for to go more beyond, I trow well, in certain, 
that we should have seen all the roundness of the firma- 
ment all about. For, as I have said to you before, the 
half of the firmament is between those two stars, the which 
halvendel I have seen. And of the tother halvendel I have 
seen, toward the north under the Transmontane, sixty- two 
degrees and ten minutes, and toward the part meridional I 
have seen under the Antarctic, thirty-three degrees and 
sixteen minutes. And then, the halvendel of the firmament 
in all holdeth not but nine score degrees. And of those 
nine score, I have seen sixty-two on that one part and 
thirty-three on that other part ; that be, ninety-five degrees 
and nigh the halvendel of a degree. And so, there ne 
faileth but that I have seen all the firmament, save four 
score and four degrees and the halvendel of a degree, and 
that is not the fourth part of the firmament ; for the 
fourth part of the roundness of the firmament holds four 
score and ten degrees, so there faileth but five degrees 
and an half of the fourth part. And also I have seen 
the three parts of all the roundness of the firmament 
and more yet five degrees and a half. By the which I 
say you certainly that men may environ all the earth of all 
the world, as well under as above, and turn again to his 
country, that had company and shipping and conduct. And 
always he should find men, lands and isles, as well as in 
this country. For ye wit well, that they that be toward 
the Antarctic, they be straight, feet against feet, of them 
that dwell under the Transmontane ; also well as we and 


they that dwell under us be feet against feet. For all the 
parts of sea and of land have their opposites, habitable or 
trepassable, and they of this half and beyond half. 

And wit well, that, after that that I may perceive and 
comprehend, the lands of Prester John, Emperor of Ind, 
be under us. For in going from Scotland or from Eng- 
land toward Jerusalem men go upward always. For our 
land is in the low part of the earth toward the west, and 
the land of Prester John is in the low part of the earth 
toward the east. And [they] have there the day when we 
have the night ; and also, high to the contrary, they have 
the night when we have the day. For the earth and 
the sea be of round form and shape, as I have said before ; 
and that that men go upward to one coast, men go down- 
ward to another coast. 

Also ye have heard me say that Jerusalem is in the 
midst of the v/orld. And that may men prove, and shew 
there by a spear, that is pight into the earth, upon the hour 
of midday, when it is equinox, that sheweth no shadow 
on no side. And that it should be in the midst of the 
world, David witnesseth it in the Psalter, where he saith, 
Deus operatus est salutem in medio terrae. Then, they, that 
part from those parts of the west for to go toward Jeru- 
salem, as many journeys as they go upward for to go 
thither, in as many journeys may they go from Jerusalem 
unto other confines of the superficiality of the earth be- 
yond. And when men go beyond those journeys toward 
Ind and to the foreign isles, all is environing the round- 
ness of the earth and of the sea under our countries on 
this half. 

And therefore hath it befallen many times of one thing 
that I have heard counted when I was young, how a worthy 
man departed some-time from our countries for to go 
search the world. And so he passed Ind and the isles 
beyond Ind, where be more than 5000 isles. And so 
long he went by sea and land, and so environed the world 
by many seasons, that he found an isle where he heard 
speak his own language, calling on oxen in the plough, 
such words as men speak to beasts in his own country ; 


whereof he had great marvel, for he knew not how it 
might be. But I say, that he had gone so long by land 
and by sea, that he had environed all the earth ; that he 
was come again environing, that is to say, going about, unto 
his own marches, and if he would have passed further, 
till he had found his country and his own knowledge. 
But he turned again from thence, from whence he was 
come from. And so he lost much painful labour, as 
himself said a great while after that he was come home. 
For it befell after, that he went into Norway. And there 
tempest of the sea took him, and he arrived in an isle. 
And, when he was in that isle, he knew well that it was 
the isle, where he had heard speak his own language before 
and the calling of oxen at the plough ; and that was 
possible thing. 

But how it seemeth to simple men unlearned, that men 
ne may not go under the earth, and also that men should 
fall toward the heaven from under. But that may not be, 
upon less than we may fall toward heaven from the earth 
where we be. For from what part of the earth that men 
dwell, either above or beneath, it seemeth always to them 
that dwell that they go more right than any other folk. 
And right as it seemeth to us that they be under us, right 
so it seemeth to them that we be under them. For if a 
man might fall from the earth unto the firmament, by 
greater reason the earth and the sea that be so great 
and so heavy should fall to the firmament : but that may 
not be, and therefore saith our Lord God, Non timeas me, 
qui suspendi terram ex nihilo ? 

And albeit that it be possible thing that men may so 
environ all the world, natheles, of a thousand persons, one 
ne might not happen to return into his country. For, 
for the greatness of the earth and of the sea, men may go 
by a thousand and a thousand other ways, that no man 
could ready him perfectly toward the parts that he came 
from, but if it were by adventure and hap, or by the 
grace of God. For the earth is full large and full great, 
and holds in roundness and about environ, by above and 
by beneath, 20425 miles, after the opinion of old wise 


astronomers ; and their sayings I reprove nought. But, 
after my little wit, it seemeth me, saving their reverence, 
that it is more. 

And for to have better understanding I say thus. Be 
there imagined a figure that hath a great compass. And, 
about the point of the great compass that is clept the 
centre, be made another little compass. Then after, be 
the great compass devised by lines in many parts, and that 
all the lines meet at the centre. So, that in as many parts 
as the great compass shall be departed, in as many shall be 
departed the little, that is about the centre, albeit that the 
spaces be less. Now then, be the great compass repre- 
sented for the firmament, and the little compass represented 
for the earth. Now then, the firmament is devised by 
astronomers in twelve signs, and every sign is devised in 
thirty degrees; that is, 360 degrees that the firmament 
hath above. Also, be the earth devised in as many parts 
as the firmament, and let every part answer to a degree of 
the firmament. And wit it well, that, after the authors 
of astronomy, 700 furlongs of earth answer to a degree of 
the firmament, and those be eighty-seven miles and four 
furlongs. Now be that here multiplied by 360 sithes, and 
then they be 31,500 miles every of eight furlongs, after 
miles of our country. So much hath the earth in round- 
ness and of height environ, after mine opinion and mine 

And ye shall understand, that after the opinion of old 
wise philosophers and astronomers, our country ne Ireland 
ne Wales ne Scotland ne Norway ne the other isles coasting 
to them ne be not in the superficiality counted above 
the earth, as it sheweth by all the books of astronomy. 
For the superficiality of the earth is parted in seven parts 
for the seven planets, and those parts be clept climates. 
And our parts be not of the seven climates, for they be 
descending toward the west + [drawing] towards the round- 
ness of the world. + And also these isles of Ind which be 
even against us be not reckoned in the climates. For they 
be against us that be in the low country. And the seven 
climates stretch them environing the world. 



Of the Palace of the King of the Isle of Java. Of the 
'Trees that bear meal, honey, wine, and venom; and 
of other marvels and customs used in the Isles marching 

BESIDE that isle that I have spoken of, there is another isle 
that is clept Sumobor. That is a great isle, and the king 
thereof is right mighty. The folk of that isle make them 
always to be marked in the visage with an hot iron, both 
men and women, for great noblesse, for to be known from 
other folk ; for they hold themselves most noble and most 
worthy of all the world. And they have war always with 
the folk that go all naked. 

And fast beside is another isle, that is clept Betemga, 
that is a good isle and a plenteous. And many other isles 
be thereabout, where there be many of diverse folk, of the 
which it were too long to speak of all. 

But fast beside that isle, for to pass by sea, is a great isle 
and a great country that men clepe Java. And it is nigh two 
thousand mile in circuit. And the king of that country 
is a full great lord and a rich and a mighty, and hath under 
him seven other kings of seven other isles about him. This 
isle is full well inhabited, and full well manned. There 
grow all manner of spicery, more plenteously than in any 
other country, as of ginger, cloves-gilofre, canell, seedwall, 
nutmegs and maces. And wit well, that the nutmeg beareth 
the maces ; for right as the nut of the hazel hath an husk 
without, that the nut is closed in till it be ripe and that 
after falleth out, right so it is of the nutmeg and of the 
maces. Many other spices and many other goods grow in 
that isle. For of all things is there plenty, save only of 
wine. But there is gold and silver, great plenty. 

And the king of that country hath a palace full noble 
and full marvellous, and more rich than any in the world. 
For all the degrees to go up into halls and chambers be, 


one of gold, another of silver. And also, the pavements 
of halls and chambers be all square, of gold one, and 
another of silver. And all the walls within be covered 
with gold and silver in fine plates, and in those plates 
be stories and battles of knights enleved, and the crowns 
and the circles about their heads be made of precious 
stones and rich pearls and great. And the halls and the 
chambers of the palace be all covered within with gold and 
silver, so that no man would trow the riches of that palace 
but he had seen it. And wit well, that the king of that 
isle is so mighty, that he hath many times overcome the 
great Chan of Cathay in battle, that is the most great 
emperor that is under the firmament either beyond the sea 
or on this half. For they have had often-time war between 
them, because that the great Chan would constrain him to 
hold his land of him ; but that other at all times defendeth 
him well against him. 

After that isle, in going by sea, men find another isle, 
good and great, that men clepe Pathen, that is a great 
kingdom full of fair cities and full of towns. In that land 
grow trees that bear meal, whereof men make good bread 
and white and of good savour ; and it seemeth as it were 
of wheat, but it is not allinges of such savour. And 
there be other trees that bear honey good and sweet, and 
other trees that bear venom, against the which there is no 
medicine but [one] ; and that is to take their proper leaves 
and stamp them and temper them with water and then 
drink it, and else he shall die ; for triacle will not avail, ne 
none other medicine. Of this venom the Jews had let seek 
of one of their friends for to empoison all Christianity, 
as I have heard them say in their confession before their 
dying : but thanked be Almighty God ! they failed of their 
purpose ; but always they make great mortality of people. 
And other trees there be also that bear wine of noble senti- 
ment. And if you like to hear how the meal cometh out of 
the trees I shall say you. Men hew the trees with an hatchet, 
all about the foot of the tree, till that the bark be parted in 
many parts, and then cometh out thereof a thick liquor, 
the which they receive in vessels, and dry it at the heat of 


the sun ; and then they have it to a mill to grind and 
it becometh fair meal and white. And the honey and the 
wine and the venom be drawn out of other trees in the 
same manner, and put in vessels for to keep. 

In that isle is a dead sea, that is a lake that hath no 
ground ; and if anything fall into that lake it shall never 
come up again. In that lake grow reeds, that be canes, 
that they clepe Thaby, that be thirty fathoms long ; and of 
these canes men make fair houses. And there be other 
canes that be not so long, that grow near the land and 
have so long roots that endure well a four quarters of 
a furlong or more ; and at the knots of those roots men 
find precious stones that have great virtues. And he that 
beareth any of them upon him, iron ne steel may not hurt 
him, ne draw no blood upon him ; and therefore, they 
that have those stones upon them fight full hardily both on 
sea and land, for men may not harm [them] on no part. 
And therefore, they that know the manner, and shall fight 
with them, they shoot to them arrows and quarrels without 
iron or steel, and so they hurt them and slay them. And 
also of those canes they make houses and ships and other 
things, as we have here, making houses and ships of oak or 
of any other trees. And deem no man that I say it but for 
a trifle, for I have seen of the canes with mine own eyes, 
full many times, lying upon the river of that lake, of the 
which twenty of our fellows ne might not lift up ne bear 
one to the earth. 

After this isle men go by sea to another isle that is clept 
Calonak. And it is a fair land and a plenteous of goods. 
And the king of that country hath as many wives as he will. 
For he maketh search all the country to get him the fairest 
maidens that may be found, and maketh them to be 
brought before him. And he taketh one one night, and 
another another night, and so forth continually suing ; so 
that he hath a thousand wives or more. And he lieth 
never but one night with one of them, and another night 
with another ; but if that one happen to be more lusty to 
his pleasance than another. And therefore the king getteth 
full many children, some-time an hundred, some-time a two- 


hundred, and some-time more. And he hath also into a 
14,000 elephants or more that he maketh for to be brought 
up amongst his villains by all his towns. For in case that 
he had any war against any other king about him, tnen [he] 
maketh certain men of arms for to go up into the castles 
of tree made for the war, that craftily be set upon the 
elephants' backs, for to fight against their enemies. And 
so do other kings there-about. For the manner of war is 
not there as it is here or in other countries, ne the ordi- 
nance of war neither. And men clepe the elephants 

And in that isle there is a great marvel, more to speak 
of than in any other part of the world. For all manner of 
fishes, that be there in the sea about them, come once in 
the year each manner of diverse fishes, one manner of 
kind after other. And they cast themselves to the sea 
bank of that isle so great plenty and multitude, that no 
man may unnethe see but fish. And there they abide 
three days. And every man of the country taketh of 
them as many as him liketh. And after, that manner of 
fish after the third day departeth and goeth into the sea. 
And after them come another multitude of fish of another 
kind and do in the same manner as the first did, other 
three days. And after them another, till all the diverse 
manner of fishes have been there, and that men have taken 
of them that them liketh. And no man knoweth the cause 
wherefore it may be. But they of the country say that it 
is for to do reverence to their king, that is the most worthy 
king that is in the world as they say ; because that he 
fulfilleth the commandment that God bade to Adam and 
Eve, when God said, Crescite et multiplicamini et replete 
terram. And for because that he multiplieth so the world 
with children, therefore God sendeth him so the fishes of 
diverse kinds of all that be in the sea, to take at his will 
for him and all his people. And therefore all the fishes of 
the sea come to make him homage as the most noble and 
excellent king of the world, and that is best beloved with 
God, as they say. I know not the reason, why it is, 
but God knoweth ; but this, me-seemeth, is the most 


marvel that ever I saw. For this marvel is against kind 
and not with kind, that the fishes that have freedom to 
environ all the coasts of the sea at their own list, come of 
their own will to proffer them to the death, without con- 
straining of man. And therefore, I am siker that this may 
not be, without a great token. 

There be also in that country a kind of snails that be so 
great, that many persons may lodge them in their shells, as 
men would do in a little house. And other snails there be 
that be full great but not so huge as the other. And 
of these snails, and of great white worms that have black 
heads that be as great as a man's thigh, and some less as 
great worms that men find there in woods, men make 
viand royal for the king and for other great lords. And 
if a man that is married die in that country, men bury his 
wife with him all quick ; for men say there, that it is 
reason that she make him company in that other world as 
she did in this. 

From that country men go by the sea ocean by an isle 
that is clept Caffolos. Men of that country when their 
friends be sick they hang them upon trees, and say that 
it is better that birds, that be angels of God, eat them, 
than the foul worms of the earth. 

From that isle men go to another isle, where the folk 
be of full cursed kind. For they nourish great dogs and 
teach them to strangle their friends when they be sick. 
For they will not that they die of kindly death. For they 
say, that they should suffer too great pain if they abide 
to die by themselves, as nature would. And, when 
they be thus enstrangled, they eat their flesh instead of 

Afterward men go by many isles by sea unto an isle that 
men clepe Milke. And there is a full cursed people. For 
they delight in nothing more than for to fight and to slay 
men. And they drink gladliest man's blood, the which 
they clepe Dieu. And the more men that a man may 
slay, the more worship he hath amongst them. And if two 
persons be at debate and, peradventure, be accorded by 
their friends or by some of their alliance, it behoveth that 


every of them that shall be accorded drink of other's 
blood : and else the accord ne the alliance is nought 
worth : ne it shall not be no reproof to him to break 
the alliance and the accord, but if every of them drink 
of others' blood. 

And from that isle men go by sea, from isle to isle, unto 
an isle that is clept Tracoda, where the folk of that country 
be as beasts, and unreasonable, and dwell in caves that 
they make in the earth ; for they have no wit to make 
them houses. And when they see any man passing through 
their countries they hide them in their caves. And they 
eat flesh of serpents, and they eat but little. And they speak 
nought, but they hiss as serpents do. And they set no price 
by no avoir ne riches, but only of a precious stone, that is 
amongst them, that is of sixty colours. And for the name 
of the isle, they clepe it Tracodon. And they love more 
that stone than anything else ; and yet they know not the 
virtue thereof, but they covet it and love it only for the 

After that isle men go by the sea ocean, by many isles, 
unto an isle that is clept Nacumera, that is a great isle and 
good and fair. And it is in compass about, more than a 
thousand mile. And all the men and women of that isle 
have hounds' heads, and they be clept Cynocephales. And 
they be full reasonable and of good understanding, save 
that they worship an ox for their God. And also every 
one of them beareth an ox of gold or of silver in his fore- 
head, in token that they love well their God. And they 
go all naked save a little clout, that they cover with their 
knees and their members. They be great folk and well- 
fighting. And they have a great targe that covereth all 
the body, and a spear in their hand to fight with. And if 
they take any man in battle, anon they eat him. 

The king of that isle is full rich and full mighty and 
right devout after his law. And he hath about his neck 
300 pearls orient, good and great and knotted, as pater- 
nosters here of amber. And in manner as we say our 
Pater Noster and our Aue Maria, counting the Pater 
Nosters, right so this king saith every day devoutly 300 


prayers to his God, or that he eat. And he beareth also 
about his neck a ruby orient, noble and fine, that is a foot 
of length and five fingers large. And, when they choose 
their king, they take him that ruby to bear in his hand ; 
and so they lead him, riding all about the city. And from 
thence-fromward they be all obeissant to him. And that 
ruby he shall bear always about his neck, for if he had not 
that ruby upon him men would not hold him for king. 
The great Chan of Cathay hath greatly coveted that ruby, 
but he might never have it for war, ne for no manner of 
goods. This king is so rightful and of equity in his 
dooms, that men may go sikerly throughout all his country 
and bear with them what them list ; that no man shall be 
hardy to rob them, and if he were, the king would justified 

From this land men go to another isle that is clept Silha. 
And it is well a 800 miles about. In that land is full much 
waste, for it is full of serpents, of dragons and of cocko- 
drills, that no man dare dwell there. These cockodrills be 
serpents, yellow and rayed above, and have four feet and 
short thighs, and great nails as claws or talons. And there 
be some that have five fathoms in length, and some of six 
and of eight and of ten. And when they go by places that 
be gravelly, it seemeth as though men had drawn a great 
tree through the gravelly place. And there be also many 
wild beasts, and namely of elephants. 

In that isle is a great mountain. And in mid place of 
the mount is a great lake in a full fair plain ; and there is 
great plenty of water. And they of the country say, that 
Adam and Eve wept upon that mount an hundred year, 
when they were driven out of Paradise, and that water, 
they say, is of their tears ; for so much water they wept, 
that made the foresaid lake. And in the bottom of that 
lake men find many precious stones and great pearls. In 
that lake grow many reeds and great canes; and there 
within be many cocodrills and serpents and great water- 
leeches. And the king of that country, once every year, 
giveth leave to poor men to go into the lake to gather 
them precious stones and pearls, by way of alms, for the 


love of God that made Adam. And all the year men find 
enough. And for the vermin that is within, they anoint 
their arms and their thighs and legs with an ointment 
made of a thing that is clept lemons, that is a manner of 
fruit like small pease ; and then have they no dread of no 
cockodrills, ne of none other venomous vermin. This 
water runneth, flowing and ebbing, by a side of the 
mountain, and in that river men find precious stones and 
pearls, great plenty. And men of that isle say commonly, 
that the serpents and the wild beasts of that country will 
not do no harm ne touch with evil no strange man that 
entereth into that country, but only to men that be born of 
the same country. 

In that country and others thereabout there be wild 
geese that have two heads. And there be lions, all white 
and as great as oxen, and many other diverse beasts and 
fowls also that be not seen amongst us. 

And wit well, that in that country and in other isles 
thereabout, the sea is so high, that it seemeth as though it 
hung at the clouds, and that it would cover all the world. 
And that is great marvel that it might be so, save only the 
will of God, that the air sustaineth it. And therefore 
saith David in the Psalter, Mirabiles elationes mans. 


How men know by the Idol, if the sick shall die or not. Of 
Folk of diverse shape and marvellously disfigured. And 
of the Monks that gave their relief to baboons, apes, and 
marmosets, and to other beasts 

FROM that isle, in going by sea toward the south, is 
another great isle that is clept Dondun. In that isle be 
folk of diverse kinds, so that the father eateth the son, the 
son the father, the husband the wife, and the wife the 
husband. And if it so befall, that the father or mother or 


any of their friends be sick, anon the son goeth to the 
priest of their law and prayeth him to ask the idol if his 
father or mother or friend shall die on that evil or not. 
And then the priest and the son go together before the 
idol and kneel full devoutly and ask of the idol their 
demand. And if the devil that is within answer that he 
shall live, they keep him well ; and if he say that he shall 
die, then the priest goeth with the son, with the wife of 
him that is sick, and they put their hands upon his mouth 
and stop his breath, and so they slay him. And after that, 
they chop all the body in small pieces, and pray all his 
friends to come and eat of him that is dead. And they 
send for all the minstrels of the country and make a 
solemn feast. And when they have eaten the flesh, they 
take the bones and bury them, and sing and make great 
melody. And all those that be of his kin or pretend them 
to be his friends, an they come not to that feast, they be 
reproved for evermore and shamed, and make great dole, for 
never after shall they be holden as friends. And they say also, 
that men eat their flesh for to deliver them out of pain ; for 
if the worms of the earth eat them the soul should suffer 
great pain, as they say. And namely when the flesh is 
tender and meagre, then say their friends, that they do 
great sin to let them have so long languor to suffer so 
much pain without reason. And when they find the flesh 
fat, then they say, that it is well done to send them soon to 
Paradise, and that they have not suffered him too long 
to endure in pain. 

The king of this isle is a full great lord and a mighty, 
and hath under him fifty-four great isles that give tribute 
to him. And in everych of these isles is a king crowned; 
and all be obeissant to that king. And he hath in those 
isles many diverse folk. 

In one of these isles be folk of great stature, as 
giants. And they be hideous for to look upon. And 
they have but one eye, and that is in the middle of 
the front. And they eat nothing but raw flesh and 
raw fish. 

And in another isle toward the south dwell folk of foul 


stature and of cursed kind that have no heads. And their 
eyen be in their shoulders. 

And in another isle be folk that have the face all flat, 
all plain, without nose and without mouth. But they have 
two small holes, all round, instead of their eyes, and their 
mouth is plat also without lips. 

And in another isle be folk of foul fashion and shape 
that have the lip above the mouth so great, that when they 
sleep in the sun they cover all the face with that lip. 

And in another isle there be little folk, as dwarfs. And 
they be two so much as the pigmies. And they have no 
mouth ; but instead of their mouth they have a little 
round hole, and when they shall eat or drink, they take 
through a pipe or a pen or such a thing, and suck it in, for 
they have no tongue ; and therefore they speak not, but 
they make a manner of hissing as an adder doth, and they 
make signs one to another as monks do, by the which 
every of them understandeth other. 

And in another isle be folk that have great ears and 
long, that hang down to their knees. 

And in another isle be folk that have horses 7 feet. And 
they be strong and mighty, and swift runners ; for they 
take wild beasts with running, and eat them. 

And in another isle be folk that go upon their hands 
and their feet as beasts. And they be all skinned and 
feathered, and they will leap as lightly into trees, and 
from tree to tree, as it were squirrels or apes. 

And in another isle be folk that be both man and 
woman, and they have kind of that one and of that other. 
And they have but one pap on the one side, and on that 
other none. And they have members of generation of 
man and woman, and they use both when they list, once 
that one, and another time that other. And they get 
children, when they use the member of man ; and they 
bear children, when they use the member of woman. 

And in another isle be folk that go always upon their 
knees full marvellously. And at every pace that they 
go, it seemeth that they would fall. And they have in 
every foot eight toes. 


Many other diverse folk of diverse natures be there in 
other isles about, of the which it were too long to tell, and 
therefore I pass over shortly. 

From these isles, in passing by the sea ocean toward the 
east by many journeys, men find a great country and a 
great kingdom that men clepe Mancy. And that is in 
Ind the more. And it is the best land and one the fairest 
that may be in all the world, and the most delectable 
and the most plenteous of all goods that is in power of 
man. In that land dwell many Christian men and Sara- 
cens, for it is a good country and a great. And there be 
therein more than 2000 great cities and rich, without other 
great towns. And there is more plenty of people there 
than in any other part of Ind, for the bounty of the 
country. In that country is no needy man, ne none that 
goeth on begging. And they be full fair folk, but they 
be all pale. And the men have thin beards and few hairs, 
but they be long ; but unnethe hath any man passing fifty 
hairs in his beard, and one hair sits here, another there, as 
the beard of a leopard or of a cat. In that land be many 
fairer women than in any other country beyond the sea, 
and therefore men clepe that land Albany, because that the 
folk be white. 

And the chief city of that country is clept Latorin, and 
it is a journey from the sea, and it is much more than 
Paris. In that city is a great river bearing ships that go 
to all the coasts in the sea. No city of the world is so 
well stored of ships as is that. And all those of the city 
and of the country worship idols. In that country be double 
sithes more birds than be here. There be white geese, red 
about the neck, and they have a great crest as a cock's 
comb upon their heads ; and they be much more there than 
they be here, and men buy them there all quick, right great 
cheap. And there is great plenty of adders of whom men 
make great feasts and eat them at great solemnities ; and 
he that maketh there a feast be it never so costly, an he 
have no adders he hath no thank for his travail. 

Many good cities there be in that country and men have 
great plenty and great cheap of all wines and victuals. In 


that country be many churches of religious men, and of their 
law. And in those churches be idols as great as giants ; and 
to these idols they give to eat at great festival days in this 
manner. They bring before them meat all sodden, as hot 
as they come from the fire, and they let the smoke go up 
towards the idols ; and then they say that the idols have 
eaten ; and then the religious men eat the meat afterwards. 

In that country be white hens without feathers, but they 
bear white wool as sheep do here. In that country women 
that be unmarried, they have tokens on their heads like 
coronals to be known for unmarried. Also in that country 
there be beasts taught of men to go into waters, into rivers 
and into deep stanks for to take fish ; the which beast is 
but little, and men clepe them loirs. And when men cast 
them into the water, anon they bring up great fishes, as many 
as men will. And if men will have more, they cast them 
in again, and they bring up as many as men list to have. 

And from that city, passing many journeys is another 
city, one the greatest of the world, that men clepe 
Cassay ; that is to say, the ' City of heaven/ That city 
is well a fifty mile about, and it is strongly inhabited with 
people, insomuch that in one house men make ten house- 
holds. In that city be twelve principal gates ; and before 
every gate, a three mile or a four mile in length, is a great 
town or a great city. That city sits upon a great lake on 
the sea as doth Venice. And in that city be more than 
12,000 bridges. And upon every bridge be strong towers 
and good, in the which dwell the wardens for to keep the 
city from the great Chan. And on that one part of the 
city runneth a great river all along the city. And there 
dwell Christian men and many merchants and other folk 
of diverse nations, because that the land is so good and so 
plenteous. And there groweth full good wine that men clepe 
Bigon, that is full mighty, and gentle in drinking. This is 
a city royal where the King of Mancy was wont to dwell. 
And there dwell many religious men, as it were of the 
Order of Friars, for they be mendicants. 

From that city men go by water, solacing and disport- 
ing them, till they come to an abbey of monks that 


is fast by, that be good religious men after their faith 
and law. In that abbey is a great garden and a fair, 
where be many trees of diverse manner of fruits. And in 
this garden is a little hill full of delectable trees. In that 
hill and in that garden be many diverse beasts, as of apes, 
marmosets, baboons and many other diverse beasts. And 
every day, when the convent of this abbey hath eaten, the 
almoner let bear the relief to the garden, and he smiteth 
on the garden gate with a clicket of silver that he holdeth 
in his hand ; and anon all the beasts of the hill and of 
diverse places of the garden come out a 3000, or a 4000 ; 
and they come in guise of poor men, and men give them 
the relief in fair vessels of silver, clean over-gilt. And 
when they have eaten, the monk smiteth eftsoons on 
the garden gate with the clicket, and then anon all the 
beasts return again to their places that they come from. 
And they say that these beasts be souls of worthy men 
that resemble in likeness of those beasts that be fair, and 
therefore they give them meat for the love of God ; and 
the other beasts that be foul, they say be souls of poor 
men and of rude commons. And thus they believe, and 
no man may put them out of this opinion. These beasts 
above-said they let take when they be young, and nourish 
them so with alms, as many as they may find. And I 
asked them if it had not been better to have given that 
relief to poor men, rather than to those beasts. And they 
answered me and said, that they had no poor men amongst 
them in that country; and though it had been so that 
poor men had been among them, yet were it greater alms 
to give it to those souls that do there their penance. 
Many other marvels be in that city and in the country 
thereabout, that were too long to tell you. 

From that city go men by the country a six journeys to 
another city that men clepe Chilenfo, of the which city the 
walls be twenty mile about. In that city be sixty bridges 
of stone, so fair that no man may see fairer. In that city 
was the first siege of the King of Mancy, for it is a 
fair city and plenteous of all goods. 

After, pass men overthwart a great river that men clepe 


Dalay. And that is the greatest river of fresh water that 
is in the world. For there, as it is most narrow, it is 
more than four mile of breadth. And then enter men 
again into the land of the great Chan. 

That river goeth through the land of Pigmies, where 
that the folk be of little stature, that be but three span 
long, and they be right fair and gentle, after their 
quantities, both the men and the women. And they 
marry them when they be half year of age and get 
children. And they live not but six year or seven at 
the most ; and he that liveth eight year, men hold him 
there right passing old. These men be the best workers 
of gold, silver, cotton, silk and of all such things, of any 
other that be in the world. And they have oftentimes war 
with the birds of the country that they take and eat. 
This little folk neither labour in lands ne in vines ; but 
they have great men amongst them of our stature that till 
the land and labour amongst the vines for them. And of 
those men of our stature have they as great scorn and 
wonder as we would have among us of giants, if they were 
amongst us. There is a good city, amongst others, where 
there is dwelling great plenty of those little folk, and it 
is a great city and a fair. And the men be great that 
dwell amongst them, but when they get any children they 
be as little as the pigmies. And therefore they be, all for 
the most part, all pigmies ; for the nature of the land 
is such. The great Chan let keep this city full well, for it 
is his. And albeit, that the pigmies be little, yet they 
be full reasonable after their age, and can both wit 
and good and malice enough. 

From that city go men by the country by many cities 
and many towns unto a city that men clepe Jamchay ; and 
it is a noble city and a rich and of great profit to 
the Lord, and thither go men to seek merchandise of all 
manner of thing. That city is full much worth yearly to 
the lord of the country. For he hath every year to rent of 
that city (as they of the city say) 50,000 cumants of florins 
of gold : for they count there all by cumants, and every 
cumant is 10,000 tflorins of gold. Now may men well 


reckon how much that it amounteth. The king of that 
country is full mighty, and yet he is under the great Chan. 
And the great Chan hath under him twelve such provinces. 
In that country in the good towns is a good custom: 
for whoso will make a feast to any of his friends, there be 
certain inns in every good town, and he that will make the 
feast will say to the hosteler, array for me to-morrow 
a good dinner for so many folk, and telleth him the 
number, and deviseth him the viands ; and he saith also, 
thus much I will dispend and no more. And anon the 
hosteler arrayeth for him so fair and so well and so 
honestly, that there shall lack nothing ; and it shall be 
done sooner and with less cost than an a man made 
it in his own house. 

And a five mile from that city, toward the head of the 
river of Dalay, is another city that men clepe Menke. In 
that city is strong navy of ships. And all be white as 
snow of the kind of the trees that they be made of. And 
they be full great ships and fair, and well ordained, and 
made with halls and chambers and other easements, as 
though it were on the land. 

From thence go men, by many towns and many cities, 
through the country, unto a city that men clepe Lanterine. 
And it is an eight journeys from the city above-said. 
This city sits upon a fair river, great and broad, that men 
clepe Caramaron. This river passeth throughout Cathay. 
And it doth often-time harm, and that full great, when it 
is over great. 


Of the great Chan of Cathay. Of the royalty of his palace, 
and how he sits at meat; and of the great number of 
officers that serve him 

CATHAY is a great country and a fair, noble and rich, and 
full of merchants. Thither go merchants all years for 


to seek spices and all manner of merchandises, more com- 
monly than in any other part. And ye shall understand, 
that merchants that come from Genoa or from Venice or 
from Romania or other parts of Lombardy, they go by 
sea and by land eleven months or twelve, or more some- 
time, ere they may come to the isle of Cathay that is the 
principal region of all parts beyond ; and it is of the great 

From Cathay go men toward the east by many journeys. 
And then men find a good city between these others, that 
men clepe Sugarmago. That city is one of the best stored 
of silk and other merchandises that is in the world. 

After go men yet to another old city toward the east. 
And it is in the province of Cathay. And beside that city 
the men of Tartary have let make another city that is 
clept Caydon. And it hath twelve gates, and between the 
two gates there is always a great mile ; so that the two 
cities, that is to say, the old and the new, have in circuit 
more than twenty mile. 

In this city is the siege of the great Chan in a full great 
palace and the most passing fair in all the world, of the 
which the walls be in circuit more than two mile. And 
within the walls it is all full of other palaces. And in the 
garden of the great palace there is a great hill, upon the 
which there is another palace ; and it is the most fair and 
the most rich that any man may devise. And all about 
the palace and the hill be many trees bearing many diverse 
fruits. And all about that hill be ditches great and deep, 
and beside them be great vivaries on that one part and on 
that other. And there is a full fair bridge to pass over 
the ditches. And in these vivaries be so many wild geese 
and ganders and wild ducks and swans and herons that it 
is without number. And all about these ditches and 
vivaries is the great garden full of wild beasts. So that 
when the great Chan will have any disport on that, to take 
any of the wild beasts or of the fowls, he will let chase 
them and take them at the windows without going out of 
his chamber. 

This palace, where his siege is, is both great and passing 


fair. And within the palace, in the hall, there be twenty- 
four pillars of fine gold. And all the walls be covered 
within of red skins of beasts that men clepe panthers, that 
be fair beasts and well smelling; so that for the sweet 
odour of those skins no evil air may enter into the palace. 
Those skins be as red as blood, and they shine so bright 
against the sun, that unnethe no man may behold them. 
And many folk worship those beasts, when they meet them 
first at morning, for their great virtue and for the good 
smell that they have. And those skins they prize more 
than though they were plate of fine gold. 

And in the midst of this palace is the mountour for the 
great Chan, that is all wrought of gold and of precious 
stones and great pearls. And at four corners of the 
mountour be four serpents of gold. And all about there 
is y-made large nets of silk and gold and great pearls 
hanging all about the mountour. And under the moun- 
tour be conduits of beverage that they drink in the 
emperor's court. And beside the conduits be many 
vessels of gold, by the which they that be of household 
drink at the conduit. 

And the hall of the palace is full nobly arrayed, and 
full marvellously attired on all parts in all things that men 
apparel with any hall. And first, at the chief of the hall 
is the emperor's throne, full high, where he sitteth at the 
meat. And that is of fine precious stones, bordered all 
about with pured gold and precious stones, and great 
pearls. And the grees that he goeth up to the table be 
of precious stones mingled with gold. 

And at the left side of the emperor's siege is the siege 
of his first wife, one degree lower than the emperor ; and 
it is of jasper, bordered with gold and precious stones. 
And the siege of his second wife is also another siege, more 
lower than his first wife ; and it is also of jasper, bordered 
with gold, as that other is. And the siege of the third 
wife is also more low, by a degree, than the second wife. 
For he hath alwavs three wives with him, where that ever 
he be. 

And after his wives, on the same side, sit the ladies of 


his lineage yet lower, after that they be of estate. And 
all those that be married have a counterfeit made like a 
man's foot upon their heads, a cubit long, all wrought 
with great pearls, fine and orient, and above made with 
peacocks' feathers and of other shining feathers ; and that 
stands upon their heads like a crest, in token that they be 
under man's foot and under subjection of man. And 
they that be unmarried have none such. 

And after at the right side of the emperor first sitteth 
his eldest son that shall reign after him. And he sitteth 
also one degree lower than the emperor, in such manner 
of sieges as do the empresses. And after him sit other 
great lords of his lineage, every of them a degree lower than 
the other, as they be of estate. 

And the emperor hath his table alone by himself, that is of 
gold and of precious stones, or of crystal bordered with gold, 
and full of precious stones or of amethysts, or of lignum 
aloes that cometh out of paradise, or of ivory bound or 
bordered with gold. And every one of his wives hath also 
her table by herself. And his eldest son and the other 
lords also, and the ladies, and all that sit with the emperor 
have tables alone by themselves, full rich. And there ne 
is no table but that it is worth an huge treasure of 

And under the emperor's table sit four clerks that 
write all that the emperor saith, be it good, be it evil ; for 
all that he saith must be holden, for he may not change 
his word, ne revoke it. 

And [at] great solemn feasts before the emperor's table 
men bring great tables of gold, and thereon be peacocks of 
gold and many other manner of diverse fowls, all of gold 
and richly wrought and enamelled. And men make them 
dance and sing, clapping their wings together, and make 
great noise. And whether it be by craft or by necromancy 
I wot never ; but it is a good sight to behold, and a fair ; 
and it is great marvel how it may be. But I have the less 
marvel, because that they be the most subtle men in all 
sciences and in all crafts that be in the world; for of 
subtlety and of malice and of farcasting they pass all 


men under heaven. And therefore they say themselves, 
that they see with two eyes and the Christian men see but 
with one, because that they be more subtle than they. 
For all other nations, they say, be but blind in cunning 
and working in comparison to them. I did great business 
for to have learned that craft, but the master told me that 
he had made avow to his god to teach it to no creature, 
but only to his eldest son. 

Also above the emperor's table and the other tables, and 
above a great part in the hall, is a vine made of fine gold. 
And it spreadeth all about the hall. And it hath many 
clusters of grapes, some white, some green, some yellow 
and some red and some black, all of precious stones. The 
white be of crystal and of beryl and of iris ; the yellow be 
of topazes; the red be of rubies and of grenaz and of 
alabrandines ; the green be of emeralds, of perydoz and 
of chrysolites ; and the black be of onyx and garantez. 
And they be all so properly made that it seemeth a very 
vine bearing kindly grapes. 

And before the emperor's table stand great lords and 
rich barons and other that serve the emperor at the meat. 
And no man is so hardy to speak a word, but if the 
emperor speak to him ; but if it be minstrels that sing 
songs and tell jests or other disports, to solace with the 
emperor. And all the vessels that men be served with in 
the hall or in chambers be of precious stones, and specially 
at great tables either of jasper or of crystal or of amethysts 
or of fine gold. And the cups be of emeralds and of 
sapphires, or of topazes, of perydoz, and of many other 
precious stones. Vessels of silver is there none, for they 
tell no price thereof to make no vessels of : but they make 
thereof grecings and pillars and pavements to halls and 
chambers. And before the hall door stand many barons 
and knights clean armed to keep that no man enter, but 
if it be the will or the commandment of the emperor, or 
but if they be servants or minstrels of the household ; and 
other none is not so hardy to neighen nigh the hall door. 

And ye shall understand, that my fellows and I with our 
yeomen, we served this emperor, and were his soldiers 


fifteen months against the King of Mancy, that held war 
against him. And the cause was for we had great lust to 
see his noblesse and the estate of his court and all his 
governance, to wit if it were such as we heard say that 
it was. And truly we found it more noble and more 
excellent, and richer and more marvellous, than ever we 
heard speak of, insomuch that we would never have 
lieved it had we not seen it. For I trow, that no man 
would believe the noblesse, the riches ne the multitude of 
folk that be in his court, but he had seen it ; for it is not 
there as it is here. For the lords here have folk of certain 
number as they may suffice ; but the great Chan hath every 
day folk at his costage and expense as without number. 
But the ordinance, ne the expenses in meat and drink, 
ne the honesty, ne the cleanness, is not so arrayed there 
as it is here ; for all the commons there eat without cloth 
upon their knees, and they eat all manner of flesh and little 
of bread, and after meat they wipe their hands upon their 
skirts, and they eat not but once a day. But the estate of 
lords is full great, and rich and noble. 

And albeit that some men will not trow me, but hold it 
for fable to tell them the noblesse of his person and of his 
estate and of his court and of the great multitude of folk 
that he holds, natheles I shall say you a part of him 
and of his folk, after that I have seen the manner and 
the ordinance full many a time. And whoso that will 
may lieve me if he will, and whoso will not, may leave 
also. For I wot well, if any man hath been in those 
countries beyond, though he have not been in the place 
where the great Chan dwelleth, he shall hear speak of him 
so much marvellous thing, that he shall not trow it lightly. 
And truly, no more did I myself, till I saw it. And those 
that have been in those countries and in the great Chan's 
household know well that I say sooth. And therefore I 
will not spare for them, that know not ne believe not but 
that that they see, for to tell you a part of him and of his 
estate that he holdeth, when he goeth from country to 
country, and when he maketh solemn feasts. 



Wherefore he is clept the great Chan. Of the Style of his 
Letters : and of the Superscription about his great Seal 
and his Privy Sea! 

FIRST I shall say you why he was clept the great Chan. 

Ye shall understand, that all the world was destroyed by 
Noah's flood, save only Noah and his wife and his 
children. Noah had three sons, Shem, Cham, and Japhet. 
This Cham was he that saw his father's privy members 
naked when he slept, and scorned them, and shewed them 
with his finger to his brethren in scorning wise. And 
therefore he was cursed of God. And Japhet turned his 
face away and covered them. 

These three brethren had seisin in all the land. And 
this Cham, for his cruelty, took the greater and the best 
part, toward the east, that is clept Asia, and Shem took 
Africa, and Japhet took Europe. And therefore is all the 
earth parted in these three parts by these three brethren. 
Cham was the greatest and the most mighty, and of him 
came more generations than of the other. And of his son 
Chuse was engendered Nimrod the giant, that was the 
first king that ever was in the world ; and he began the 
foundation of the tower of Babylon. And that time, 
the fiends of hell came many times and lay with the 
women of his generation and engendered on them diverse 
folk, as monsters and folk disfigured, some without heads, 
some with great ears, some with one eye, some giants, 
some with horses' feet, and many other diverse shape 
against kind. And of that generation of Cham be come 
Paynims and divers folk that be in isles of the sea by 
all Ind. And forasmuch as he was the most mighty, and 
no m?n misrit ^*n fr>^^^fiq nim TV^ doped nimfyiT frh^ j^m ^jf 
God and sovereign of all the world. And for this Cham, 
this emperor clepeth him Cham, and sovereign of all the 


And of the generation of Shem be come the Saracens. 
And of the generation of Japhet is come the people of 
Israel. And though that we dwell in Europe, this is the 
opinion, that the Syrians and the Samaritans have amongst 
them. And that they told me, before that I went toward 
Ind, but I found it otherwise. Natheles, the sooth is 
this ; that Tartars and they that dwell in the great Asia, 
they came of Cham ; but the Emperor of Cathay clepeth 
him not Cham, but Can, and I shall tell you how. 

It is but little more but eight score year that all Tartary 
was in subjection and in servage to other nations about. 
For they were but bestial folk and did nothing but kept 
beasts and led them to pastures. But among them they 
had seven principal nations that were sovereigns of them all. 
Of the which, the first nation or lineage was clept Tartar, 
and that is the most noble and the most prized. The 
second lineage is clept Tanghot, the third Eurache, the 
fourth Valair, the fifth Semoche, the sixth Megly, the 
seventh Coboghe. 

Now befell it so that of the first lineage succeeded an 
old worthy man that was not rich, that had to name 
Changuys. This man lay upon a night in his bed. And 
he saw in avision, that there came before him a knight 
armed all in white. And he sat upon a white horse, and 
said to him, Can, sleepest thou ? The Immortal God hath 
sent me to thee, and it is his will, that thou go to the 
seven lineages and say to them that thou shalt be their 
emperor. For thou shalt conquer the lands and the 
countries that be about, and they that march upon you 
shall be under your subjection, as ye have been under 
theirs, for that is God's will immortal. 

And when he came at morrow, Changuys rose, and 
went to seven lineages, and told them how the white 
knight had said. And they scorned him, and said that he 
was a fool. And so he departed from them all ashamed. 
And the night ensuing, this white knight came to the seven 
lineages, and commanded them on God's behalf immortal, 
that they should make this Changuys their emperor, and 
they should be out of subjection, and they should hold all 



er regions about them in their servage as they had 
been to them before. And on the morrow, they chose 
him to be their emperor. And they set him upon a black 
fertre, and after that they lift him up with great solemnity. 
And they set him in a chair of gold and did him all 
manner of reverence, and they cleped him Chan, as the white 
knight called him. 

And when he was thus chosen, he would assay if he 
might trust in them or no, and whether they would be 
obeissant to him or no. And then he made many 
statutes and ordinances that they clepe Tsya Chan. The 
first statute was, that they should believe and obey in 
God Immortal, that is Almighty, that would cast them out 
of servage, and at all times clepe to him for help in time 
of need. The tother statute was, that all manner of men 
that might bare arms should be numbered, and to every 
ten should be a master, and to every hundred a master, 
and to every thousand a master, and to every ten thousand 
a master. After he commanded to the principals of the 
seven lineages, that they should leave and forsake all that 
they had in goods and heritage, and from thenceforth to 
hold them paid of that that he would give them of his 
grace. And they did so anon. After he commanded to 
the principals of the seven lineages, that every of them 
should bring his eldest son before him, and with their own 
hands smite off their heads without tarrying. And anon 
his commandment was performed. 

And when the Chan saw that they made none obstacle 
to perform his commandment, then he thought well that 
he might trust in them, and commanded them anon to 
make them ready and to sue his banner. And after this, 
Chan put in subjection all the lands about him. 

Afterward it befell upon a day, that the Can rode with 
a few meinie for to behold the strength of the country 
that he had won. And so befell, that a great multitude of 
his enemies met with him. And for to give good example 
of hardiness to his people, he was the first that fought, and 
in the midst of his enemies encountered, and there he was 
cast from his horse, and his horse slain. And when his 


folk saw him at the earth, they were all abashed, and weened 
he had been dead, and flew every one, and their enemies 
after and chased them, but they wist not that the emperor 
was there. And when the enemies were far pursuing the 
chase, the emperor hid him in a thick wood. And when 
they were come again from the chase, they went and sought 
the woods if any of them had been hid in the thick of the 
woods ; and many they found and slew them anon. So it 
happened that as they went searching toward the place that 
the emperor was, they saw an owl sitting upon a tree above 
him ; and then they said amongst them, that there was no 
man because that they saw that bird there, and so they went 
their way ; and thus escaped the emperor from death. And 
then he went privily all by night, till he came to his folk 
that were full glad of his coming, and made great thank- 
ings to God Immortal, and to that bird by whom their lord 
was saved. And therefore principally above all fowls of 
world they worship the owl ; and when they have any of 
their feathers, they keep them full preciously instead of 
relics, and bear them upon their heads with great rever- 
ence ; and they hold themselves blessed and safe from all 
perils while that they have them upon them, and therefore 
they bear their feathers upon their heads. 

After all this the Chan ordained him, and assembled his 
people, and went upon them that had assailed him before, 
and destroyed them, and put them in subjection and servage. 
And when he had won and put all the lands and countries 
on this half the Mount Belian in subjection, the white knight 
came to him again in his sleep, and said to him, Chan ! the 
will of God Immortal is that thou pass the Mount Belian. 
And thou shalt win the land and thou shalt put many 
nations in subjection. And for thou shalt find no good 
passage for to go toward that country, go [to] the Mount 
Belian that is upon the sea, and kneel there nine times 
toward the east in the worship of God Immortal, and he 
shall shew the way to pass by. And the Chan did so. 
And anon the sea that touched and was fast to the mount 
began to withdraw him, and shewed fair way of nine foot 
breadth large ; and so he passed with his folk, and won 


the land of Cathay that is the greatest kingdom of the 

And for the nine kneelings and for the nine foot of way 
the Chan and all the men of Tartary have the number of 
nine in great reverence. And therefore who that will 
make the Chan any present, be it of horses, be it of birds, 
or of arrows or bows, or of fruit, or of any other thing, 
always he must make it of the number of nine. And so 
then be the presents of greater pleasure to him ; and more 
benignly he will receive them than though he were presented 
with an hundred or two hundred. For him seemeth the 
number of nine so holy, because the messenger of God 
Immortal devised it. 

Also, when the Chan of Cathay had won the country of 
Cathay, and put in subjection and under foot many countries 
about, he fell sick. And when he felt well that he should 
die, he said to his twelve sons, that everych of them 
should bring him one of his arrows. And so they did 
anon. And then he commanded that men should bind 
them together in three places. And then he took them to 
his eldest son, and bade him break them all together. And 
he enforced him with all his might to break them, but he 
ne might not. And then the Chan bade his second son to 
break them ; and so, shortly, to all, each after other ; but 
none of them might break them. And then he bade the 
youngest son dissever every one from other, and break 
everych by himself. And so he did. And then said the 
Chan to his eldest son and to all the others, Wherefore 
might ye not break them ? And they answered that they 
might not, because that they were bound together. And 
wherefore, quoth he, hath your little youngest brother 
broken them ? Because, quoth they, that they were parted 
each from other. And then said the Chan, My sons, 
quoth he, truly thus will it fare by you. For as long as 
ye be bound together in three places, that is to say, in love; 
in truth and in good accord, no man shall be of power to 
grieve you. But and ye be dissevered from these three 
places, that your one help not your other, ye shall be 
destroyed and brought to nought. And if each of you love 


other and help other, ye shall be lords and sovereigns of all 
others. And when he had made his ordinances, he died. 

And then after him reigned Ecchecha Cane, his eldest 
son. And his other brethren went to win them many 
countries and kingdoms, unto the land of Prussia and of 
Russia, and made themselves to be clept Chane ; but they 
were all obeissant to their elder brother, and therefore was 
he clept the great Chan. 

After Ecchecha reigned Guyo Chan. 

And after him Mango Chan that was a good Christian 
man and baptized, and gave letters of perpetual peace to 
all Christian men, and sent his brother Halaon with great 
multitude of folk for to win the Holy Land and for to 
put it into Christian men's hands, and for to destroy 
Mahomet's law, and for to take the Caliph of Bagdad 
that was emperor and lord of all the Saracens. And when 
this caliph was taken, men found him of so high worship, 
that in all the remnant of the world, ne might a man 
find a more reverend man, ne higher in worship. And 
then Halaon made him come before him, and said to him, 
Why, quoth he, haddest thou not taken with thee more 
soldiers and men enough, for a little quantity of treasure, 
for to defend thee and thy country, that art so abundant 
of treasure and so high in all worship ? And the caliph 
answered him, For he well trowed that he had enough 
of his own proper men. And then said Halaon, Thou 
wert as a god of the Saracens. And it is convenient to a 
god to eat no meat that is mortal. And therefore, thou 
shall not eat but precious stones, rich pearls and treasure, 
that thou lovest so much. And then he commanded him 
to prison, and all his treasure about him. And so he died 
for hunger and thirst. And then after this, Halaon won 
all the Land of Promission, and put it into Christian 
men's hands. But the great Chan, his brother, died ; and 
that was great sorrow and loss to all Christian men. 

After Mango Chan reigned Cobyla Chan that was also 
a Christian man. And he reigned forty-two year. He 
founded the great city Izonge in Cathay, that is a great 
deal more than Rome. 


The tother great Chan that came after him became a 
Paynim, and all the others after him. 

The kingdom of Cathay is the greatest realm of the 
world. And also the great Chan is the most mighty 
emperor of the world and the greatest lord under the 
firmament. And so he clepeth him in his letters, right 
thus : Chan ! Filius Dei excelsi, omnium universam terram 
colentium summits imperator, & dominus omnium dominan- 
tium! And the letter of his great seal, written about, is 
this ; Deus in coelo, Chan super terram, ejus fortitudo. 
Omnium hominum imperatoris sigillum. And the superscrip- 
tion about his little seal is this ; Dei fortitude, omnium 
hominum imperatoris sigillum. 

And albeit that they be not christened, yet nevertheless 
the emperor and all the Tartars believe in God Immortal. 
And when they will menace any man, then they say, God 
knoweth well that I shall do thee such a thing, and telleth 
his menace. 

And thus have ye heard, why he is clept the great Chan. 


Of the Governance of the great Chan s Court, and when he 
maketh solemn feasts. Of his Philosophers. And of his 
array, when he rideth by the country 

Now shall I tell you the governance of the court of the 
great Chan, when he maketh solemn feasts ; and that is 
principally four times in the year. 

The first feast is of his birth, that other is of his pre- 
sentation in their temple that they clepe their Moseache, 
where they make a manner of circumcision, and the tother 
two feasts be of his idols. The first feast of the idol is 
when he is first put into their temple and throned ; the 
tother feast is when the idol beginneth first to speak, or to 


work miracles. More be there not of solemn feasts, but 
if he marry any of his children. 

Now understand, that at every of these feasts he hath 
great multitude of people, well ordained and well arrayed, 
by thousands, by hundreds, and by tens. And every man 
knoweth well what service he shall do, and every man 
giveth so good heed and so good attendance to his service 
that no man findeth no default. And there be first ordained 
4000 barons, mighty and rich, for to govern and to make 
ordinance for the feast, and for to serve the emperor. 
And these solemn feasts be made without in halls and tents 
made of cloths of gold and of tartaries, full nobly. And 
all those barons have crowns of gold upon their heads, full 
noble and rich, full of precious stones and great pearls 
orient. And they be all clothed in cloths of gold or of 
tartaries or of camakas, so richly and so perfectly, that no 
man in the world can amend it, ne better devise it. And 
all those robes be orfrayed all about, and dubbed full of 
precious stones and of great orient pearls, full richly. And 
they may well do so, for cloths of gold and of silk be 
greater cheap there a great deal than be cloths of wool. 
And these 4000 barons be devised in four companies, and 
every thousand is clothed in cloths all of one colour, and 
that so well arrayed and so richly, that it is marvel to 

The first thousand, that is of dukes, of earls, of 
marquises and of admirals, all clothed in cloths of gold, 
with tissues of green silk, and bordered with gold full of 
precious stones in manner as I have said before. The 
second thousand is all clothed in cloths diapered of red 
silk, all wrought with gold, and the orfrays set full of 
great pearl and precious stones, full nobly wrought. The 
third thousand is clothed in cloths of silk, of purple or of 
Ind. And the fourth thousand is in cloths of yellow. And 
all their clothes be so nobly and so richly wrought with 
gold and precious stones and rich pearls, that if a man of 
this country had but only one of their robes, he might well 
say that he should never be poor ; for the gold and the 
precious stones and the great orient pearls be of greater 


value on this half the sea than they be beyond the sea in 
those countries. 

And when they be thus apparelled, they go two and two 
together, full ordinately, before the emperor, without 
speech of any word, save only inclining to him. And 
every one of them beareth a tablet of jasper or of ivory or 
of crystal, and the minstrels going before them, sounding 
their instruments of diverse melody. And when the first 
thousand is thus passed and hath made his muster, he 
withdraweth him on that one side ; and then entereth that 
other second thousand, and doth right so, in the same 
manner of array and countenance, as did the first ; and 
after, the third ; and then, the fourth ; and none of them 
saith not one word. 

And at one side of the emperor's table sit many philo- 
sophers that be proved for wise men in many diverse 
sciences, as of astronomy, necromancy, geomancy, pyro- 
mancy, hydromancy, of augury and of many other sciences. 
And everych of them have before them astrolabes of 
gold, some spheres, some the brain pan of a dead man, 
some vessels of gold full of gravel or sand, some vessels of 
gold full of coals burning, some vessels of gold full of 
water and of wine and of oil, and some horologes of gold, 
made full nobly and richly wrought, and many other 
manner of instruments after their sciences. 

And at certain hours, when them thinketh time, they 
say to certain officers that stand before them, ordained 
for the time to fulfil their commandments ; Make peace ! 

And then say the officers ; Now peace ! listen ! 

And after that, saith another of the philosophers ; Every 
man do reverence and incline to the emperor, that is God's 
Son and sovereign lord of all the world ! For now is time ! 
And then every man boweth his head toward the earth. 

And then commandeth the same philosopher again ; 
Stand up ! And they do so. 

And at another hour, saith another philosopher; Put 
your little finger in your ears ! And anon they do so. 

And at another hour, saith another philosopher; Put 
your hand before your mouth ! And anon they do so. 


And at another hour, saith another philosopher ; Put 
your hand upon your head ! And after that he biddeth 
them to do their hand away. And they do so. 

And so, from hour to hour, they command certain 
things; and they say, that those things have diverse 
significations. And I asked them privily what those 
things betokened. And one of the masters told me, 
that the bowing of the head at that hour betokened this ; 
that all those that bowed their heads should evermore 
after be obeissant and true to the emperor, and never, for 
gifts ne for promise in no kind, to be false ne traitor unto 
him for good nor evil. And the putting of the little 
finger in the ear betokeneth, as they say, that none of 
them ne shall not hear speak no contrarious thing to the 
emperor but that he shall tell it anon to his council or 
discover it to some men that will make relation to the 
emperor, though he were his father or brother or son. 
And so forth, of all other things that is done by the 
philosophers, they told me the causes of many diverse 
things. And trust right well in certain, that no man doth 
nothing to the emperor that belongeth unto him, neither 
clothing ne bread ne wine ne bath ne none other 
thing that longeth to him, but at certain hours that his 
philosophers will devise. And if there fall war in any 
side to the emperor, anon the philosophers come and say 
their advice after their calculations, and counsel the 
emperor of their advice by their sciences ; so that the 
emperor doth nothing without their counsel. 

And when the philosophers have done and performed 
their commandments, then the minstrels begin to do 
their minstrelsy, everych in their instruments, each after 
other, with all the melody that they can devise. And 
when they have done a good while, one of the officers of 
the emperor goeth up on a high stage wrought full 
curiously, and crieth and saith with loud voice ; Make 
Peace ! And then every man is still. 

And then, anon after, all the lords that be of the 
emperor's lineage, nobly arrayed in rich cloths of gold 
and royally apparelled on white steeds, as many as may 


well sue him at that time, be ready to make their presents 
to the emperor. And then saith the steward of the court 
to the lords, by name ; N. of N. ! and nameth first the 
most noble and the worthiest by name, and saith ; Be 
ye ready with such a number of white horses, for to serve 
the emperor, your sovereign lord ! And to another 
lord he saith ; N. of N., be ye ready with such a number, 
to serve your sovereign lord ! And to another, right so, 
and to all the lords of the emperor's lineage, each after 
other, as they be of estate. And when they be all cleped, 
they enter each after other, and present the white horses 
to the emperor, and then go their way. And then after, 
all the other barons every of them, give him presents 
or jewels or some other thing, after that they be of 
estate. And then after them, all the prelates of their law, 
and religious men and others ; and every man giveth him 
something. And when that all men have thus presented 
the emperor, the greatest of dignity of the prelates giveth 
him a blessing, saying an orison of their law. 

And then begin the minstrels to make their minstrelsy 
in divers instruments with all the melody that they can 
devise. And when they have done their craft, then they 
bring before the emperor, lions, leopards and other diverse 
beasts, and eagles and vultures and other divers fowls, and 
fishes and serpents, for to do him reverence. And then 
come jugglers and enchanters, that do many marvels ; for 
they make to come in the air, by seeming, the sun and the 
moon to every man's sight. And after they make the 
night so dark that no man may see nothing. And after 
they make the day to come again, fair and pleasant with 
bright sun, to every man's sight. And then they bring 
in dances of the fairest damsels of the world, and richest 
arrayed. And after they make to come in other damsels 
bringing cups of gold full of milk of diverse beasts, and 
give drink to lords and to ladies. And then they make 
knights to joust in arms full lustily ; and they run together 
a great random, and they frussch together full fiercely, 
and they break their spears so rudely that the truncheons 
fly in sprouts and pieces all about the hall, And then 


they make to come in hunting for the hart and for the 
boar, with hounds running with open mouth. And many 
other things they do by craft of their enchantments, that 
it is marvel for to see. And such plays of disport they 
make till the taking up of the boards. This great Chan 
hath full great people for to serve him, as I have told you 
before. For he hath of minstrels the number of thirteen 
cumants, but they abide not always with him. For all the 
minstrels that come before him, of what nation that they 
be of, they be withholden with him as of his household, 
and entered in his books as for his own men. And after 
that, where that ever they go, ever more they claim for 
minstrels of the great Chan ; and under that title, all 
kings and lords cherish them the more with gifts and 
all things. And therefore he hath so great multitude 
of them. 

And he hath of certain men as though they were 
yeomen, that keep birds, as ostriches, gerfalcons, sparrow- 
hawks, falcons gentle, lanyers, sakers, sakrets, popinjays 
well speaking, and birds singing, and also of wild beasts, 
as of elephants tame and other, baboons, apes, marmosets, 
and other diverse beasts ; the mountance of fifteen cumants 
of yeomen. 

And of physicians Christian he hath 200, and of leeches 
that be Christian he hath 210, and of leeches and physi- 
cians that be Saracens twenty, but he trusteth more in the 
Christian leeches than in the Saracen. And his other 
common household is without number, and they all have 
all necessaries and all that them needeth of the emperor's 
court. And he hath in his court many barons as servitors, 
that be Christian and converted to good faith by the 
preaching of religious Christian men that dwell with him ; 
but there be many more, that will not that men know that 
they be Christian. 

This emperor may dispend as much as he will without 
estimation ; for he not dispendeth ne maketh no money 
but of leather imprinted or of paper. And of that money 
is some of greater price and some of less price, after the 
diversity of his statutes. And when that money hath run 


so long that it beginneth to waste, then men bear it to 
the emperor's treasury and then they take new money for 
the old. And that money goeth throughout all the coun- 
try and throughout all his provinces, for there and beyond 
them they make no money neither of gold nor of silver ; 
and therefore he may dispend enough, and outrageously. 
And of gold and silver that men bear in his country he 
maketh cylours, pillars and pavements in his palace, and 
other diverse things what him liketh. 

This emperor hath in his chamber, in one of the pillars 
of gold, a ruby and a carbuncle of half a foot long, that in 
the night giveth so great clearness and shining, that it is 
as light as day. And he hath many other precious stones 
and many other rubies and carbuncles ; but those be the 
greatest and the most precious. 

This emperor dwelleth in summer in a city that is 
toward the north that is clept Saduz ; and there is cold 
enough. And in winter he dwelleth in a city that is clept 
Camaaleche, and that is an hot country. But the country, 
where he dwelleth in most commonly, is in Gaydo or in 
Jong, that is a good country and a temperate, after that 
the country is there ; but to men of this country it were 
too passing hot. 

And when this emperor will ride from one country to 
another he ordaineth four hosts of his folk, of the which 
the first host goeth before him a day's journey. For that 
host shall be lodged the night where the emperor shall 
lie upon the morrow. And there shall every man have all 
manner of victual and necessaries that be needful, of the 
emperor's costage. And in this first host is the number of 
people fifty cumants, what of horse what of foot, of the 
which every cumant amounteth 10,000, as I have told 
you before. And another host goeth in the right side of 
the emperor, nigh half a journey from him. And another 
goeth on the left side of him, in the same wise. And in 
every host is as much multitude of people as in the first 
host. And then after cometh the fourth host, that is much 
more than any of the others, and that goeth behind him, the 
mountance of a bow draught. And every host hath his 


journeys ordained in certain places, where they shall be 
lodged at night, and there they shall have all that them 
needeth. And if it befall that any of the host die, anon 
they put another in his place, so that the number shall 
evermore be whole. 

And ye shall understand, that the emperor, in his proper 
person, rideth not as other great lords do beyond, but if 
he list to go privily with few men, for to be unknown. 
And else, he rides in a chariot with four wheels, upon the 
which is made a fair chamber, and it is made of a certain 
wood, that cometh out of Paradise terrestrial, that men 
clepe lignum aloes, that the floods of Paradise bring out at 
divers seasons, as I have told you here before. And this 
chamber is full well smelling because of the wood that it is 
made of. And all this chamber is covered within of plate of 
fine gold dubbed with precious stones and great pearls. 
And four elephants and four great destriers, all white and 
covered with rich covertures, leading the chariot. And 
four, or five, or six, of the greatest lords ride about this 
chariot, full richly arrayed and full nobly, so that no man 
shall neigh the chariot, but only those lords, but if that the 
emperor call any man to him that him list to speak withal. 
And above the chamber of this chariot that the emperor 
sitteth in be set upon a perch four or five or six gerfalcons, 
to that intent, that when the emperor seeth any wild fowl, 
that he may take it at his own list, and have the disport and 
the play of the flight, first with one, and after with 
another ; and so he taketh his disport passing by the coun- 
try. And no man rideth before him of his company, but 
all after him. And no man dare not come nigh the 
chariot, by a bow draught, but those lords only that be 
about him. And all the host cometh fairly after him in 
great multitude. 

And also such another chariot with such hosts ordained 
and arrayed go with the empress upon another side, everych 
by himself, with four hosts, right as the emperor did ; 
but not with so great multitude of people. And his 
eldest son goeth by another way in another chariot, in the 
same manner. So that there is between them so great 


multitude of folk that it is marvel to tell it. And no man 
should trow the number, but he had seen it. And some- 
time it happeth that when he will not go far, and that it 
like him to have the empress and his children with him, 
then they go altogether, and their folk be all mingled in 
fere, and divided in four parties only. 

And ye shall understand, that the empire of this great 
Chan is divided in twelve provinces ; and every province 
hath more than two thousand cities, and of towns without 
number. This country is full great, for it hath twelve 
principal kings in twelve provinces, and every of those 
kings have many kings under them, and all they be 
obeissant to the great Chan. And his land and his lord- 
ship dureth so far, that a man may not go from one head 
to another, neither by sea ne land, the space of seven year. 
And through the deserts of his lordship, there as men may 
find no towns, there be inns ordained by every journey, 
to receive both man and horse, in the which they shall find 
plenty of victual, and of all things that they need for to 
go by the country. 

And there is a marvellous custom in that country (but 
it is profitable), that if any contrarious thing that should 
be prejudice or grievance to the emperor in any kind, anon 
the emperor hath tidings thereof and full knowledge in a 
day, though it be three or four journeys from him or more. 
For his ambassadors take their dromedaries or their horses, 
and they prick in all that ever they may toward one of the 
inns. And when they come there, anon they blow an 
horn. And anon they of the inn know well enough that 
there be tidings to warn the emperor of some rebellion 
against him. And then anon they make other men ready, 
in all haste that they may, to bear letters, and prick in all 
that ever they may, till they come to the other inns with 
their letters. And then they make fresh men ready, to 
prick forth with the letters toward the emperor, while that 
the last bringer rest him, and bait his dromedary or his 
horse. And so, from inn to inn, till it come to the 
emperor. And thus anon hath he hasty tidings of any- 
thing that beareth charge, by his couriers, that run so 


hastily throughout all the country. And also when the 
Emperor sendeth his couriers hastily throughout his land, 
every one of them hath a large thong full of small bells, 
and when they neigh near to the inns of other couriers that 
be also ordained by the journeys, they ring their bells, and 
anon the other couriers make them ready, and run their 
way unto another inn. And thus runneth one to other, 
full speedily and swiftly, till the emperor's intent be served, 
in all haste. And these couriers be clept Chydydo, after 
their language, that is to say, a messenger. 

Also when the emperor goeth from one country to 
another, as I have told you here before, and he pass 
through cities and towns, every man maketh a fire before 
his door, and putteth therein powder of good gums that be 
sweet smelling, for to make good savour to the emperor. 
And all the people kneel down against him, and do him 
great reverence. And there, where religious Christian 
men dwell, as they do in many cities in the land, they go 
before him with procession with cross and holy water, and 
they sing, Veni creator spiritus ! with an high voice, and go 
towards him. And when he heareth them, he commandeth 
to his lords to ride beside him, that the religious men may 
come to him. And when they be nigh him with the cross, 
then he doth adown his galiot that sits on his head in 
manner of a chaplet, that is made of gold and precious 
stones and great pearls, and it is so rich, that men prize it 
to the value of a realm in that country. And then he 
kneeleth to the cross. And then the prelate of the religious 
men saith before him certain orisons, and giveth him a 
blessing with the cross ; and he inclineth to the blessing 
full devoutly. And then the prelate giveth him some 
manner fruit, to the number of nine, in a platter of 
silver, with pears or apples, or other manner fruit. And 
he taketh one. And then men give to the other lords 
that be about him. For the custom is such, that no 
stranger shall come before him, but if he give him some 
manner thing, after the old law that saith, Nemo accedat in 
conspectu meo vacuus. And then the emperor saith to the 
religious men, that they withdraw them again, that they be 


neither hurt nor harmed of the great multitude of horses 
that come behind him. And also, in the same manner, do 
the religious men that dwell there, to the empresses that 
pass by them, and to his eldest son. And to every of 
them they present fruit. 

And ye shall understand, that the people that he hath 
so many hosts of, about him and about his wives and his 
son, they dwell not continually with him. But always, 
when him liketh, they be sent for. And after, when 
they have done, they return to their own households, save 
only they that be dwelling with him in household for to 
serve him and his wives and his sons for to govern his 
household. And albeit, that the others be departed from 
him after that they have performed their service, yet there 
abideth continually with him in court 50,000 men at horse 
and 200,000 men a foot, without minstrels and those that 
keep wild beasts and divers birds, of the which I have told 
you the number before. 

Under the firmament is not so great a lord, ne so 
mighty, ne. so rich as is the great Chan ; not Prester John, 
that is emperor of the high Ind, ne the Soldan of Babylon, ne 
the Emperor of Persia. All these ne be not in comparison 
to the great Chan, neither of might, ne of noblesse, ne 
of royalty, ne of riches ; for in all these he passeth all 
earthly princes. Wherefore it is great harm that he 
believeth not faithfully in God. And natheles he will 
gladly hear speak of God. And he sufFereth well that 
Christian men dwell in his lordship, and that men of 
his faith be made Christian men if they will, throughout 
all his country ; for he defendeth no man to hold no law 
other than him liketh. 

In that country some men hath an hundred wives, some 
sixty, some more, some less. And they take the next of 
their kin to their wives, save only that they out-take their 
mothers, their daughters, and their sisters of the mother's 
side ; but their sisters on the father's side of another woman 
they may well take, and their brothers' wives also after 
their death, and their step-mothers also in the same wise. 



Of the Law and the Customs of the fartarians dwelling in 
Cathay. And how that men do when the Emperor shall 
die, and how he shall be chosen 

THE folk of that country use all long clothes without furs. 
And they be clothed with precious cloths of Tartary, and 
of cloths of gold. And their clothes be slit at the side, 
and they be fastened with laces of silk. And they clothe 
them also with pilches, and the hide without ; and they use 
neither cape ne hood. And in the same manner as the 
men go, the women go, so that no man may unneth know 
the men from the women, save only those women that be 
married, that bear the token upon their heads of a man's 
foot, in sign that they be under man's foot and under sub- 
jection of man. 

And their wives ne dwell not together, but every of them 
by herself; and the husband may lie with whom of them 
that him liketh. Everych hath his house, both man and 
woman. And their houses be made round of staves, and 
it hath a round window above that giveth them light, and 
also that serveth for deliverance of smoke. And the 
heling of their houses and the walls and the doors be all of 
wood. And when they go to war, they lead their houses 
with them upon chariots, as men do tents or pavilions. 
And they make their fire in the midst of their houses. 

And they have great multitude of all manner of beasts, 
save only of swine, for they bring none forth. And they 
believe well one God that made and formed all things. 
And natheles yet have they idols of gold and silver, and of 
tree and of cloth. And to those idols they offer always 
their first milk of their beasts, and also of their meats and 
of their drinks before they eat. And they offer often-times 
horses and beasts. And they clepe the God of kind Troga. 

And their emperor also, what name that ever he have, 
they put evermore thereto, Chan. And when I was there, 


their emperor had to name Thiaut, so that he was clept 
Thiaut-Chan. And his eldest son was clept Tossue ; and 
when he shall be emperor, he shall be clept Tossue-Chan. 
And at that time the emperor had twelve sons without 
him, that were named Cuncy, Ordii, Chadahay, Buryn, 
t Negu, Nocab, Cadu, [Siban], Cuten, Balacy, Babylan, and 
Garegan. And of his three wives, the first and principal, 
that was Prester John's daughter, had to name Serioche- 
Chan, and the tother Borak-Chan, and the tother Karanke- 

The folk of that country begin all their things in the 
new moon, and they worship much the moon and the sun 
and often-time kneel against them. And all the folk of the 
country ride commonly without spurs, but they bear always 
a little whip in their hands for to chace with their horses. 

And they have great conscience and hold it for a great 
sin to cast a knife in the fire, and for to draw flesh out of 
a pot with a knife, and for to smite an horse with the 
handle of a whip, or to smite an horse with a bridle, or to 
break one bone with another, or for to cast milk or any 
liquor that men may drink upon the earth, or for to take 
and slay little children. And the most sin that any man 
may do is to piss in their houses that they dwell in, and 
whoso that may be found with that sin sikerly they slay 
him. And of everych of these sins it behoveth them to 
be shriven of their priests, and to pay great sum of silver 
for their penance. And it behoveth also, that the place 
that men have pissed in be hallowed again, and else dare 
no man enter therein. And when they have paid their 
penance, men make them pass through a fire or through 
two, for to cleanse them of their sins. And also when any 
messenger cometh and bringeth letters or any present to 
the emperor, it behoveth him that he, with the thing that 
he bringeth, pass through two burning fires for to purge 
them, that he bring no poison ne venom, ne no wicked 
thing that might be grievance to the Lord. And also if 
any man or woman be taken in avoutry or fornication, 
anon they slay him. And who that stealeth anything, anon 
they slay him. 


Men of that country be all good archers and shoot right 
well, both men and women, as well on horse-back, pricking, 
as on foot, running. And the women make all things and all 
manner mysteries and crafts, as of clothes, boots and other 
things ; and they drive carts, ploughs and wains and 
chariots ; and they make houses and all manner mysteres, 
out taken bows and arrows and armours that men make. 
And all the women wear breeches, as well as men. 

All the folk of that country be full obeissant to their 
sovereigns ; ne they fight not, ne chide not one with another. 
And there be neither thieves ne robbers in that country. 
And every man worshippeth other ; but no man there 
doth no reverence to no strangers, but if they be great 

And they eat hounds, lions, leopards, mares and foals, 
asses, rats and mice and all manner of beasts, great and 
small, save only swine and beasts that were defended by 
the old law. And they eat all the beasts without and 
within, without casting away of anything, save only the 
filth. And they eat but little bread, but if it be in courts 
of great lords. And they have not in many places, neither 
pease ne beans ne none other pottages but the broth of the 
flesh. For little eat they anything but flesh and the broth. 
And when they have eaten, they wipe their hands upon 
their skirts ; for they use no napery ne towels, but if it 
be before great lords ; but the common people hath none. 
And when they have eaten, they put their dishes unwashen 
into the pot or cauldron with remnant of the flesh and of 
the broth till they will eat again. And the rich men 
drink milk of mares or of camels or of asses or of other 
beasts. And they will be lightly drunken of milk and of 
another drink that is made of honey and of water sodden 
together ; for in that country is neither wine ne ale. 
They live full wretchedly, and they eat but once in the 
day, and that but little, neither in courts ne in other 
places. And in sooth, one man alone in this country will 
eat more in a day than one of them will eat in three days. 
And if any strange messenger come there to a lord, men 
make him to eat but once a day, and that full little. 


And when they war, they war full wisely and always do 
their business, to destroy their enemies. Every man there 
beareth two bows or three, and of arrows great plenty, and 
a great axe. And the gentles have short spears and large 
and full trenchant on that one side. And they have plates 
and helms made of quyrboylle, and their horses cover- 
tures of the same. And whoso fleeth from the battle they 
slay him. And when they hold any siege about castle or 
town that is walled and defensible, they behote to them 
that be within to do all the profit and good, that it 
is marvel to hear ; and they grant also to them that be 
within all that they will ask them. And after that they 
be yielden, anon they slay them all ; and cut off their ears 
and souse them in vinegar, and thereof they make great 
service for lords. All their lust and all their imagi- 
nation is for to put all lands under their subjection. And 
they say that they know well by their prophecies, that they 
shall be overcome by archers and by strength of them ; 
but they know not of what nation ne of what law they 
shall be of, that shall overcome them. And therefore 
they suffer that folk of all laws may peaceably dwell 
amongst them. 

Also when they will make their idols or an image of 
any of their friends for to have remembrance of him, they 
make always the image all naked without any manner of 
clothing. For they say that in good love should be no 
covering, that man should not love for the fair clothing 
ne for the rich array, but only for the body, such as God 
hath made it, and for the good virtues that the body is 
endowed with of Nature, not only for fair clothing that is 
not of kindly Nature. 

And ye shall understand that it is great dread for to 
pursue the Tartars if they flee in battle. For in fleeing 
they shoot behind them and slay both men and horses. 
And when they will fight they will shock them together in 
a plump ; that if there be 20,000 men, men shall not 
ween that there be scant 10,000. And they can well win 
land of strangers, but they cannot keep it ; for they have 
greater lust to lie in tents without than for to lie in castle 


or in towns. And they prize nothing the wit of other 

And amongst them oil of olive is full dear, for they 
hold it for full noble medicine. And all the Tartars have 
small eyen and little of beard, and not thick haired but 
shear. And they be false and traitors ; and they last 
nought that they behote. They be full hardy folk, and 
much pain and woe may suffer and disease, more than any 
other folk, for they be taught thereto in their own coun- 
try of youth. And therefore they spend as who saith, 
right nought. 

And when any man shall die, men set a spear beside 
him. And when he draweth towards the death, every 
man fleeth out of the house till he be dead. And after 
that they bury him in the fields. 

And when the emperor dieth, men set him in a chair in 
midst the place of his tent. And men set a table before 
him clean, covered with a cloth, and thereupon flesh and 
diverse viands and a cup full of mare's milk. And men 
put a mare beside him with her foal, and an horse saddled 
and bridled. And they lay upon the horse gold and 
silver, great quantity. And they put about him great 
plenty of straw. And then men make a great pit and 
a large, and with the tent and all these other things 
they put him in earth. And they say that when he 
shall come into another world, he shall not be without 
an house, ne without horse, ne without gold and silver ; 
and the mare shall give him milk, and bring him forth 
more horses till he be well stored in the tother world. 
For they trow that after their death they shall be eating 
and drinking in that other world, and solacing them with 
their wives, as they did here. 

And after time that the emperor is thus interred no 
man shall be so hardy to speak of him before his friends. 
And yet natheles, sometime falleth of many that they 
make him to be interred privily by night in wild places, 
and put again the grass over the pit for to grow ; or 
else men cover the pit with gravel and sand, that no 
man shall perceive where, ne know where, the pit is, to 


that intent that never after none of his friends shall 
have mind ne remembrance of him. And then they 
say that he is ravished into another world, where he is 
a greater lord than he was here. 

And then, after the death of the emperor, the seven 
lineages assemble them together, and choose his eldest son, 
or the next after him of his blood. And thus they say to 
him ; we will and we pray and ordain that ye be our 
lord and our emperor. 

And then he answereth, If ye will that I reign over 
you as lord, do everych of you that I shall command 
him, either to abide or to go ; and whomsoever that I 
command to be slain, that anon he be slain. 

And they answer all with one voice, Whatsoever ye 
command, it shall be done. 

Then saith the emperor, Now understand well, that 
my word from henceforth is sharp and biting as a sword. 

After, men set him upon a black steed and so men 
bring him to a chair full richly arrayed, and there they 
crown him. And then all the cities and good towns 
send him rich presents. So that at that journey he 
shall have more than sixty chariots charged with gold 
and silver, without jewels of gold and precious stones, 
that lords gave him, that be without estimation, and 
without horses, and cloths of gold, and of camakas, and 
tartarins that be without number. 


Of the Realm of Tharse and the Lands and Kingdoms towards 
the Septentrional Parts^ in coming down from the land 
of Cathay 

THIS land of Cathay is in Asia the deep; and after, 
on this half, is Asia the more. The kingdom of Cathay 
marcheth toward the west unto the kingdom of Tharse, 


the which was one of the kings that came to present 
our Lord in Bethlehem. And they that be of the lineage 
of that king are some Christian. In Tharse they eat 
no flesh, ne they drink no wine. 

And on this half, toward the west, is the kingdom 
of Turkestan, that stretcheth him toward the west to 
the kingdom of Persia, and toward the septentrional to 
the kingdom of Khorasan. In the country of Turkestan 
be but few good cities ; but the best city of that land 
hight Octorar. There be great pastures, but few corns ; 
and therefore, for the most part, they be all herdsmen, 
and they lie in tents and they drink a manner ale made of 

And after, on this half, is the kingdom of Khorasan, 
that is a good land and a plenteous, without wine. And 
it hath a desert toward the east that lasteth more than 
an hundred journeys. And the best city of that country 
is clept Khorasan, and of that city beareth the country 
his name. The folk of that country be hardy warriors. 

And on this half is the kingdom of Comania, whereof 
the Comanians that dwelled in Greece sometime were 
chased out. This is one of the greatest kingdoms of 
the world, but it is not all inhabited. For at one of 
the parts there is so great cold that no man may dwell 
there ; and in another part there is so great heat that 
no man may endure it, and also there be so many flies, 
that no man may know on what side he may turn 
him. In that country is but little arboury ne trees that 
bear fruit ne other. They lie in tents; and they burn 
the dung of beasts for default of wood. This kingdom 
descendeth on this half toward us and toward Prussia and 
toward Russia. 

And through that country runneth the river of Ethille 
that is one of the greatest rivers of the world. And it 
freezeth so strongly all years that many times men have 
fought upon the ice with great hosts, both parties on foot, 
and their horses voided for the time, and what on horse 
and on foot, more than 200,000 persons on every side. 

And between that river and the great sea Ocean, that 


they clepe the Sea Maure, lie all these realms. And 
toward the head, beneath, in that realm is the Mount 
Chotaz, that is the highest mount of the world, and it is 
between the Sea Maure and the Sea Caspian. There is 
full strait and dangerous passage for to go toward Ind. 
And therefore King Alexander let make there a strong 
city, that men clepe Alexandria, for to keep the country 
that no man should pass without his leave. And now 
men clepe that city, the Gate of Hell. 

And the principal city of Comania is clept Sarak, that is 
one of the three ways for to go into Ind. But by that way, 
ne may not pass no great multitude of people, but if it be 
in winter. And that passage men clepe the Derbent. The 
tother way is for to go from the city of Turkestan by 
Persia, and by that way be many journeys by desert. 
And the third way is that cometh from Comania and then 
to go by the Great Sea and by the kingdom of Abchaz. 

And ye shall understand, that all these kingdoms and 
all these lands above-said unto Prussia and to Russia be all 
obeissant to the great Chan of Cathay, and many other 
countries that march to other coasts. Wherefore his 
power and his lordship is full great and full mighty. 


Of the Emperor of Persia, and of the Land of Darkness ; and 
of other kingdoms that belong to the great Chan of Cathay \ 
and other lands of his, unto the sea of Greece 

Now, since I have devised you the lands and the king- 
doms toward the parts Septentrionals in coming down 
from the land of Cathay unto the lands of the Christian, 
towards Prussia and Russia, now shall I devise you of 
other lands and kingdoms coming down by other coasts, 
toward the right side, unto the sea of Greece, toward the 
land of Christian men. And, therefore, that after Ind and 


after Cathay the Emperor of Persia is the greatest lord, 
therefore, I shall tell you of the kingdom of Persia. 

First, where he hath two kingdoms, the first kingdom 
beginneth toward the east, toward the kingdom of 
Turkestan, and it stretcheth toward the west unto 
the river of Pison, that is one of the four rivers 
that come out of Paradise. And on another side it 
stretcheth toward the Septentrion unto the sea of Caspian ; 
and also toward the south unto the desert of Ind. And 
this country is good and plain and full of people. And 
there be many good cities. But the two principal cities 
be these, Boyturra, and Seornergant, that some men clepe 
Sormagant. The tother kingdom of Persia stretcheth 
toward the river of Pison and the parts of the west unto 
the kingdom of Media, and from the great Armenia and 
toward the Septentrion to the sea of Caspian and toward 
the south to the land of Ind. That is also a good land 
and a plenteous, and it hath three great principal cities 
Messabor, Saphon, and Sarmassan. 

And then after is Armenia, in the which were wont to 
be four kingdoms; that is a noble country and full of 
goods. And it beginneth at Persia and stretcheth toward 
the west in length unto Turkey. And in largeness it 
dureth to the city of Alexandria, that now is clept the 
Gate of Hell, that I spake of before, under the kingdom 
of Media. In this Armenia be full many good cities, but 
Taurizo is most of name. 

After this is the kingdom of Media, that is full long, 
but it is not full large, that beginneth toward the east to 
the land of Persia and to Ind the less ; and it stretcheth 
toward the west, toward the kingdom of Chaldea and 
toward the Septentrion, descending toward the little 
Armenia. In that kingdom of Media there be many 
great hills and little of plain earth. There dwell Saracens 
and another manner of folk, that men clepe Cordynes. 
The best two cities of that kingdom be Sarras and Karemen. 

After that is the kingdom of Georgia, that beginneth 
toward the east to the great mountain that is clept 
Abzor, where that dwell many diverse folk of diverse 


nations. And men clepe the country Alamo. This 
kingdom stretcheth him towards Turkey and toward the 
Great Sea, and toward the south it marcheth to the 
great Armenia. And there be two kingdoms in that 
country ; that one is the kingdom of Georgia, and that 
other is the kingdom of Abchaz. And always in that 
country be two kings ; and they be both Christian. But 
the king of Georgia is in subjection to the great Chan. 
And the king of Abchaz hath the more strong country, 
and he always vigorously defendeth his country against 
all those that assail him, so that no man may make 
him in subjection to no man. 

In that kingdom of Abchaz is a great marvel. For 
a province of the country that hath well in circuit three 
journeys, that men clepe Hanyson, is all covered with 
darkness, without any brightness or light; so that no 
man may see ne hear, ne no man dare enter into him. 
And, natheles, they of the country say, that some- 
times men hear voice of folk, and horses neighing, 
and cocks crowing. And men wit well, that men dwell 
there, but they know not what men. And they say, 
that the darkness befell by miracle of God. For a cursed 
emperor of Persia, that hight Saures, pursued all Christian 
men to destroy them and to compel them to make 
sacrifice to his idols, and rode with great host, in all 
that ever he might, for to confound the Christian men. 
And then in that country dwelled many good Christian 
men, the which that left their goods and would have 
fled into Greece. And when they were in a plain that 
hight Megon, anon this cursed emperor met with them 
with his host for to have slain them and hewn them 
to pieces. And anon the Christian men kneeled to the 
ground, and made their prayers to God to succour them. 
And anon a great thick cloud came and covered the 
emperor and all his host. And so they endure in that 
manner that they ne may not go out on no side ; and 
so shall they evermore abide in that darkness till the day 
of doom, by the miracle of God. And then the Christian 
men went where them liked best, at their own pleasance, 


without letting of any creature, and their enemies enclosed 
and confounded in darkness, without any stroke. 

Wherefore we may well say with David, A Domino 
factum est istud; & est mirabile in oculis nostris. And that 
was a great miracle, that God made for them. Wherefore 
methinketh that Christian men should be more devout 
to serve our Lord God than any other men of any other 
sect. For without any dread, ne were not cursedness 
and sin of Christian men, they should be lords of all 
the world. For the banner of Jesu Christ is always dis- 
played, and ready on all sides to the help of his true 
loving servants. Insomuch, that one good Christian man 
in good belief should overcome and out-chase a thousand 
cursed misbelieving men, as David saith in the Psalter, 
duoniam persequebatur unus mille, 5? duo fugarent decem 
milia ; et cadent a latere tuo milk, & decem milia a dextris 
tuis. And how that it might be that one should chase 
a thousand, David himself saith following, Quia manus 
Domini fecit haec omnia, and our Lord himself saith, by 
the prophet's mouth, Si in viis meis ambulaveritis, super 
tribulantes vos misissem manum me am. So that we may 
see apertly that if we will be good men, no enemy may 
not endure against us. 

Also ye shall understand that out of that land of 
darkness goeth out a great river that sheweth well that 
there be folk dwelling, by many ready tokens; but no 
man dare not enter into it. 

And wit well, that in the kingdoms of Georgia, of 
Abchaz and of the little Armenia be good Christian men 
and devout. For they shrive them and housel them 
evermore once or twice in the week. And there be many 
of them that housel them every day; and so do we 
not on this half, albeit that Saint Paul commandeth it, 
saying, Omnibus diebus dominicis ad communicandum honor. 
They keep that commandment, but we ne keep it not. 

Also after, on this half, is Turkey, that marcheth to 
the great Armenia. And there be many provinces, as 
Cappadocia, Saure, Brique, Quesiton, Pytan, and Gemethe. 
And in everych of these be many good cities. This 


Turkey stretcheth unto the city of Sachala that sitteth 
upon the sea of Greece, and so it marcheth to Syria. 
Syria is a great country and a good, as I have told 
you before. And also it hath, above toward Ind, the 
kingdom of Chaldea, that stretcheth from the mountains 
of Chaldea toward the east unto the city of Nineveh, that 
sitteth upon the river of Tigris; and in largeness it 
beginneth toward the north to the city of Maraga; and 
it stretcheth toward the south unto the sea Ocean. In 
Chaldea is a plain country, and few hills and few rivers. 

After is the kingdom of Mesopotamia, that beginneth, 
toward the east, to the flom of Tigris, unto a city that 
is clept Mosul ; and it stretcheth toward the west to 
the flom of Euphrates unto a city that is clept Roianz ; 
and in length it goeth to the mount of Armenia unto 
the desert of Ind the less. This is a good country 
and a plain, but it hath few rivers. It hath but two 
mountains in that country, of the which one hight Symar 
and that other Lyson. And this land marcheth to the 
kingdom of Chaldea. 

Yet there is, toward the parts Meridionals many 
countries and many regions, as the land of Ethiopia, 
that marcheth, toward the east to the great deserts, 
toward the west to the kingdom of Nubia, toward the 
south to the kingdom of Moretane, and toward the north 
to the Red Sea. 

After is Moretane, that dureth from the mountains of 
Ethiopia unto Lybia the high. And that country lieth 
along from the sea ocean toward the south ; and toward 
the north it marcheth to Nubia and to the high Lybia. 
(These men of Nubia be Christian.) And it marcheth 
from the lands above-said to the deserts of Egypt, and 
that is the Egypt that I have spoken of before. 

And after is Lybia the high and Lybia the low, that 
descendeth down low toward the great sea of Spain, in the 
which country be many kingdoms and many diverse folk. 

Now I have devised you many countries on this half the 
kingdom of Cathay, of the which many be obeissant to the 
great Chan. 



Of the Countries and Isles that be beyond the Land of Cathay ; 
and of the fruits there ; and of twenty-two kings enclosed 
within the mountains 

Now shall I say you, suingly, of countries and isles that be 
beyond the countries that I have spoken of. 

Wherefore I say you, in passing by the land of Cathay 
toward the high Ind and toward Bacharia, men pass by a 
kingdom that men clepe Caldilhe, that is a full fair 

And there groweth a manner of fruit, as though it 
were gourds. And when they be ripe, men cut them a- 
two, and men find within a little beast, in flesh, in bone, 
and blood, as though it were a little lamb without wool. 
And men eat both the fruit and the beast. And that is a 
great marvel. Of that fruit I have eaten, although it were 
wonderful, but that I know well that God is marvellous in 
his works. And, natheles, I told them of as great a 
marvel to them, that is amongst us, and that was of the 
Bernakes. For I told them that in our country were trees 
that bear a fruit that become birds flying, and those that 
fell in the water live, and they that fall on the earth die 
anon, and they be right good to man's meat. And hereof 
had they as great marvel, that some of them trowed it 
were an impossible thing to be. 

In that country be long apples of good savour, whereof 
be more than an hundred in a cluster, and as many in 
another ; and they have great long leaves and large, of two 
foot long or more. And in that country, and in other 
countries thereabout, grow many trees that bear clove- 
gylofres and nutmegs, and great nuts of Ind, and of Canell 
and of many other spices. And there be vines that bear 
so great grapes, that a strong man should have enough to 
do for to bear one cluster with all the grapes. 

In that same region be the mountains of Caspian that 


men clepe Uber in the country. Between those mountains 
the Jews of ten lineages be enclosed, that men clepe Goth 
and Magoth and they may not go out on no side. There 
were enclosed twenty-two kings with their people, that 
dwelled between the mountains of Scythia. There King 
Alexander chased them between those mountains, and 
there he thought for to enclose them through work of 
his men. But when he saw that he might not do it, ne bring 
it to an end, he prayed to God of nature that he would 
perform that that he had begun. And all were it so, that 
he was a paynim and not worthy to be heard, yet God of 
his grace closed the mountains together, so that they dwell 
there all fast locked and enclosed with high mountains all 
about, save only on one side, and on that side is the sea of 

Now may some men ask, since that the sea is on that 
one side, wherefore go they not out on the sea side, for to 
go where that them liketh ? 

But to this question, I shall answer ; that sea of Caspian 
goeth out by land under the mountains, and runneth by 
the desert at one side of the country, and after it stretcheth 
unto the ends of Persia, and although it be clept a sea, it 
is no sea, ne it toucheth to none other sea, but it is a lake, 
the greatest of the world ; and though they would put 
them into that sea, they ne wist never where that they 
should arrive ; and also they can no language but only 
their own, that no man knoweth but they ; and therefore 
may they not go out. 

And also ye shall understand, that the Jews have no 
proper land of their own for to dwell in, in all the world, 
but only that land between the mountains. And yet they 
yield tribute for that land to the Queen of Amazonia, the 
which that maketh them to be kept in close full diligently, 
that they shall not go out on no side but by the coast of 
their land ; for their land marcheth to those mountains. 

And often it hath befallen, that some of the Jews have 
gone up the mountains and avaled down to the valleys. But 
great number of folk ne may not do so, for the mountains 
be so high and so straight up, that they must abide there, 


maugre their might. For they may not go out, but by a 
little issue that was made by strength of men, and it lasteth 
well a four great mile. 

And after, is there yet a land all desert, where men may 
find no water, neither for digging ne for none other 
thing. Wherefore men may not dwell in that place, so 
is it full of dragons, of serpents and of other venomous 
beasts, that no man dare not pass, but if it be strong 
winter. And that strait passage men clepe in that country 
Clyron. And that is the passage that the Queen of 
Amazonia maketh to be kept. And though it happen 
some of them by fortune to go out, they can no manner 
of language but Hebrew, so that they cannot speak to the 

And yet, natheles, men say they shall go out in the 
time of anti-Christ, and that they shall make great 
slaughter of Christian men. And therefore all the Jews 
that dwell in all lands learn always to speak Hebrew, in 
hope, that when the other Jews shall go out, that they 
may understand their speech, and to lead them into 
Christendom for to destroy the Christian people. For 
the Jews say that they know well by their prophecies, that 
they of Caspia shall go out, and spread throughout all the 
world, and that the Christian men shall be under their 
subjection, as long as they have been in subjection of them. 

And if that ye will wit how that they shall find their 
way, after that I have heard say I shall tell you. 

In the time of anti-Christ a fox shall make there his 
train, and mine an hole where King Alexander let make 
the gates ; and so long he shall mine and pierce the earth, 
till that he shall pass through towards that folk. And 
when they see the fox, they shall have great marvel of 
him, because that they saw never such a beast. For of 
all other beasts they have enclosed amongst them, save 
only the fox. And then they shall chase him and pursue 
him so strait, till that he come to the same place that he 
came from. And then they shall dig and mine so strongly, 
till that they find the gates that King Alexander let make 
of great stones, and passing huge, well cemented and made 


strong for the mastery. And those gates they shall break, 
and so go out by finding of that issue. 

From that land go men toward the land of Bacharia, 
where be full evil folk and full cruel. In that land be 
trees that bear wool, as though it were of sheep, whereof 
men make clothes and all things that may be made of wool. 

In that country be many hippotaynes that dwell some- 
time in the water and sometime on the land. And they be 
half man and half horse, as I have said before. And they 
eat men when they may take them. 

And there be rivers of waters that be full bitter, three 
sithes more than is the water of the sea. 

In that country be many griffins, more plenty than in 
any other country. Some men say that they have the 
body upward as an eagle and beneath as a lion ; and truly 
they say sooth, that they be of that shape. But one 
griffin hath the body more great and is more strong than 
eight lions, of such lions as be on this half, and more great 
and stronger than an hundred eagles such as we have 
amongst us. For one griffin there will bear, flying to his 
nest, a great horse, if he may find him at the point, or two 
oxen yoked together as they go at the plough. For he 
hath his talons so long and so large and great upon his 
feet, as though they were horns of great oxen or of bugles 
or of kine, so that men make cups of them to drink of. 
And of their ribs and of the pens of their wings, men make 
bows, full strong, to shoot with arrows and quarrels. 

From thence go men by many journeys through the 
land of Prester John, the great Emperor of Ind. And 
men clepe his realm the Isle of Pentexoire. 




Of the Royal Estate of Prester John. And of a rich man 
that made a marvellous castle and cleped it Paradise ; 
and of his subtlety 

THIS emperor, Prester John, holds full great land, and 
hath many full noble cities and good towns in his realm, 
and many great diverse isles and large. For all the country 
of Ind is devised in isles for the great floods that come 
from Paradise, that depart all the land in many parts. And 
also in the sea he hath full many isles. And the best city 
in the Isle of Pentexoire is Nyse, that is a full royal city 
and a noble, and full rich. 

This Prester John hath under him many kings and 
many isles and many diverse folk of diverse conditions. 
And this land is full good and rich, but not so rich as is 
the land of the great Chan. For the merchants come not 
thither so commonly for to buy merchandises, as they do 
in the land of the great Chan, for it is too far to travel to. 
And on that other part, in the Isle of Cathay, men find all 
manner thing that is need to man cloths of gold, of silk, 
of spicery and all manner avoirdupois. And therefore, 
albeit that men have greater cheap in the Isle of Prester 
John, natheles, men dread the long way and the great perils 
in the sea in those parts. 

For in many places of the sea be great rocks of stones 
of the adamant, that of his proper nature draweth iron to 
him. And therefore there pass no ships that have either 
bonds or nails of iron within them. And if there do, 
anon the rocks of the adamants draw them to them, that 
never they may go thence. I myself have seen afar 
in that sea, as though it had been a great isle full of trees 
and buscaylle, full of thorns and briars, great plenty. And 
the shipmen told us, that all that was of ships that were 
drawn thither by the adamants, for the iron that was in 
them. And of the rotten-ness, and other thing that was 


within the ships, grew such buscaylle, and thorns and 
briars and green grass, and such manner of thing ; and of 
the masts and the sail-yards ; it seemed a great wood or a 
grove. And such rocks be in many places thereabout. 
And therefore dare not the merchants pass there, but if 
they know well the passages, or else that they have good 

And also they dread the long way. And therefore they 
go to Cathay, for it is more nigh. And yet it is not so nigh, 
but that men must be travelling by sea and land, eleven 
months or twelve, from Genoa or from Venice, or he come 
to Cathay. And yet is the land of Prester John more far 
by many dreadful journeys. 

And the merchants pass by the kingdom of Persia, 
and go to a city that is clept Hermes, for Hermes the 
philosopher founded it. And after that they pass an arm 
of the sea, and then they go to another city that is clept 
Golbache. And there they find merchandises, and of 
popinjays, as great plenty as men find here of geese. And 
if they will pass further, they may go sikerly enough. 
In that country is but little wheat or barley, and therefore 
they eat rice and honey and milk and cheese and fruit. 

This Emperor Prester John taketh always to his wife 
the daughter of the great Chan ; and the great Chan also, 
in the same wise, the daughter of Prester John. For these 
two be the greatest lords under the firmament. 

In the land of Prester John be many diverse things and 
many precious stones, so great and so large, that men 
make of them vessels, as platters, dishes and cups. And 
many other marvels be there, that it were too cumbrous 
and too long to put it in scripture of books ; but of the 
principal isles and of his estate and of his law, I shall tell 
you some part. 

This Emperor Prester John is Christian, and a great 
part of his country also. But yet, they have not all the 
articles of our faith as we have. They believe well in the 
Father, in the Son and in the Holy Ghost. And they be 
full devout and right true one to another. And they set 
not by no barretts, ne by cautels, nor of no deceits. 


And he hath under him seventy-two provinces, and in 
every province is a king. And these kings have kings 
under them, and all be tributaries to Prester John. And 
he hath in his lordships many great marvels. 

For in his country is the sea that men clepe the Gravelly 
Sea, that is all gravel and sand, without any drop of water, 
and it ebbeth and floweth in great waves as other seas do, 
and it is never still ne in peace, in no manner season. 
And no man may pass that sea by navy, ne by no manner 
of craft, and therefore may no man know what land is 
beyond that sea. And albeit that it have no water, yet 
men find therein and on the banks full good fish of other 
manner of kind and shape, than men find in any other sea, 
and they be of right good taste and delicious to man's meat. 

And a three journeys long from that sea be great 
mountains, out of the which goeth out a great flood that 
cometh out of Paradise. And it is full of precious stones, 
without any drop of water, and it runneth through the 
desert on that one side, so that it maketh the sea gravelly; 
and it beareth into that sea, and there it endeth. And that 
flome runneth, also, three days in the week and bringeth 
with him great stones and the rocks also therewith, and 
that great plenty. And anon, as they be entered into the 
Gravelly Sea, they be seen no more, but lost for evermore. 
And in those three days that that river runneth, no man 
dare enter into it ; but in the other days men dare enter 
well enough. 

Also beyond that flome, more upward to the deserts, is 
a great plain all gravelly, between the mountains. And in 
that plain, every day at the sun-rising, begin to grow small 
trees, and they grow till mid-day, bearing fruit ; but no 
man dare take of that fruit, for it is a thing of faerie. 
And after mid-day, they decrease and enter again into the 
earth, so that at the going down of the sun they appear 
no more. And so they do, every day. And that is a 
great marvel. 

In that desert be many wild men, that be hideous to 
look on ; for they be horned, and they speak nought, but 
they grunt, as pigs. And there is also great plenty of wild 


hounds. And there be many popinjays, that they clepe 
psittakes in their language. And they speak of their 
proper nature, and salute men that go through the deserts, 
and speak to them as apertly as though it were a man. 
And they that speak well have a large tongue, and have 
five toes upon a foot. And there be also of another 
manner, that have but three toes upon a foot, and they 
speak not, or but little, for they can not but cry. 

This Emperor Prester John when he goeth into battle 
against any other lord, he hath no banners borne before 
him ; but he hath three crosses of gold, fine, great and 
high, full of precious stones, and every of those crosses be 
set in a chariot, full richly arrayed. And for to keep 
every cross, be ordained 10,000 men of arms and more 
than 100,000 men on foot, in manner as men would keep 
a standard in our countries, when that we be in land of 
war. And this number of folk is without the principal 
host and without wings ordained for the battle. And 
when he hath no war, but rideth with a privy meinie, 
then he hath borne before him but one cross of tree, 
without painting and without gold or silver or precious 
stones, in remembrance that Jesu Christ suffered death 
upon a cross of tree. And he hath borne before him also 
a platter of gold full of earth, in token that his noblesse 
and his might and his flesh shall turn to earth. And he 
hath borne before him also a vessel of silver, full of noble 
jewels of gold full rich and of precious stones, in token of 
his lordship and of his noblesse and of his might. 

He dwelleth commonly in the city of Susa. And there 
is his principal palace, that is so rich and so noble, that no 
man will trow it by estimation, but he had seen it. And 
above the chief tower of the palace be two round pommels 
of gold, and in everych of them be two carbuncles great 
and large, that shine full bright upon the night. And the 
principal gates of his palace be of precious stone that men 
clepe sardonyx, and the border and the bars be of ivory. 
And the windows of the halls and chambers be of crystal. 
And the tables whereon men eat, some be of emeralds, 
some of amethyst, and some of gold, full of precious stones; 


and the pillars that bear up the tables be of the same precious 
stones. And the degrees to go up to his throne, where he 
sitteth at the meat, one is of onyx, another is of crystal, 
and another of jasper green, another of amethyst, another 
of sardine, another of cornelian, and the seventh, that he 
setteth on his feet, is of chrysolite. And all these degrees 
be bordered with fine gold, with the tother precious stones, 
set with great pearls orient. And the sides of the siege of his 
throne be of emeralds, and bordered with gold full nobly, 
and dubbed with other precious stones and great pearls. 
And all the pillars in his chamber be of fine gold with 
precious stones, and with many carbuncles, that give great 
light upon the night to all people. And albeit that 
the carbuncles give light right enough, natheles, at all 
times burneth a vessel of crystal full of balm, for to give 
good smell and odour to the emperor, and to void away 
all wicked airs and corruptions. And the form of his bed 
is of fine sapphires, bended with gold, for to make him 
sleep well and to refrain him from lechery ; for he will not 
lie with his wives, but four sithes in the year, after the 
four seasons, and that is only for to engender children. 

He hath also a full fair palace and a noble at the city 
of Nyse, where that he dwelleth, when him best liketh ; 
but the air is not so attempre, as it is at the city of Susa. 

And ye shall understand, that in all his country nor in 
the countries there all about, men eat not but once in the 
day, tas they do in the court of the great Chan. And so 
they eat every day in his court, more than 30,000 persons, 
without goers and comers. But the 30,000 persons of his 
country, ne of the country of the great Chan, ne spend not 
so much good as do 12,000 of our country. 

This Emperor Prester John hath evermore seven kings 
with him to serve him, and they depart their service by 
certain months. And with these kings serve always 
seventy-two dukes and three hundred and sixty earls. 
And all the days of the year, there eat in his household and 
in his court, twelve archbishops and twenty bishops. And 
the patriarch of Saint Thomas is there as is the pope here. 
And the archbishops and the bishops and the abbots in 


that country be all kings. And everych of these great 
lords know well enough the attendance of their service. 
The one is master of his household, another is his 
chamberlain, another serveth him of a dish, another of the 
cup, another is steward, another is marshal, another is 
prince of his arms, and thus is he full nobly and royally 
served. And his land dureth in very breadth four 
months' journeys, and in length out of measure, that is to 
say, all the isles under earth that we suppose to be 
under us. 

Beside the isle of Pentexoire, that is the land of Prester 
John, is a great isle, long and broad, that men clepe 
Mistorak ; and it is in the lordship of Prester John. In 
that isle is great plenty of goods. 

There was dwelling, sometime, a rich man ; and it is 
not long since ; and men clept him Gatholonabes. And he 
was full of cautels and of subtle deceits. And he had a full 
fair castle and a strong in a mountain, so strong and so 
noble, that no man could devise a fairer ne stronger. 
And he had let mure all the mountain about with a strong 
wall and a fair. And within those walls he had the fairest 
garden that any man might behold. And therein were 
trees bearing all manner of fruits, that any man could 
devise. And therein were also all manner virtuous herbs 
of good smell, and all other herbs also that bear fair flowers. 
And he had also in that garden many fair wells ; and 
beside those wells he had let make fair halls and fair 
chambers, depainted all with gold and azure ; and there 
were in that place many diverse things, and many diverse 
stories: and of beasts, and of birds that sung full delectably 
and moved by craft, that it seemed that they were quick. 
And he had also in his garden all manner of fowls and of 
beasts that any man might think on, for to have play or 
sport to behold them. 

And he had also, in that place, the fairest damsels that 
might be found, under the age of fifteen years, and the 
fairest young striplings that men might get, of that same 
age. And all they were clothed in cloths of gold, full 
richly. And he said that those were angels. 


And he had also let make three wells, fair and noble, 
and all environed with stone of jasper, of crystal, diapered 
with gold, and set with precious stones and great orient 
pearls. And he had made a conduit under earth, so 
that the three wells, at his list, one should run milk, 
another wine and another honey. And that place he 
clept Paradise. 

And when that any good knight, that was hardy and 
noble, came to see this royalty, he would lead him into 
his paradise, and show him these wonderful things to his 
disport, and the marvellous and delicious song of diverse 
birds, and the fair damsels, and the fair wells of milk, of 
wine and of honey, plenteously running. And he would let 
make divers instruments of music to sound in an high 
tower, so merrily, that it was joy for to hear ; and no 
man should see the craft thereof. And those, he said, were 
angels of God, and that place was Paradise, that God 
had behight to his friends, saying, Dabo vobis terram 
fluentem lacte et melle. And then would he make them 
to drink of certain drink, whereof anon they should be 
drunk. And then would them think greater delight 
than they had before. And then would he say to them, 
that if they would die for him and for his love, that after 
their death they should come to his paradise ; and they 
should be of the age of those damosels, and they should play 
with them, and yet be maidens. And after that yet should 
he put them in a fairer paradise, where that they should 
see God of nature visibly, in his majesty and in his bliss. 
And then would he shew them his intent, and say them, 
that if they would go slay such a lord, or such a man that 
was his enemy or contrarious to his list, that they should 
not dread to do it and for to be slain therefore themselves. 
For after their death, he would put them into another 
paradise, that was an hundred-fold fairer than any of the 
tother; and there should they dwell with the most fairest 
damosels that might be, and play with them ever-more. 

And thus went many diverse lusty bachelors for to slay 
great lords in diverse countries, that were his enemies, and 
made themselves to be slain, in hope to have that paradise. 


And thus, often-time, he was revenged of his enemies by 
his subtle deceits and false cautels. 

And when the worthy men of the country had perceived 
this subtle falsehood of this Gatholonabes, they assembled 
them with force, and assailed his castle, and slew him, and 
destroyed all the fair places and all the nobilities of that 
paradise. The place of the wells and of the walls and of 
many other things be yet apertly seen, but the riches is 
voided clean. And it is not long gone, since that place 
was destroyed. 


Of the Devil's Head in the Valley Perilous. And of the 
Customs of Folk in diverse Isles that be about in the 
Lordship of Pr ester John 

BESIDE that Isle of Mistorak upon the left side nigh 
to the river of Pison is a marvellous thing. There is a 
vale between the mountains, that dureth nigh a four 
mile. And some men clepe it the Vale Enchanted, 
some clepe it the Vale of Devils, and some clepe it 
the Vale Perilous. In that vale hear men often-time 
great tempests and thunders, and great murmurs and 
noises, all days and nights, and great noise, as it were 
sound of tabors and of nakers and of trumps, as though 
it were of a great feast. This vale is all full of devils, 
and hath been always. And men say there, that it is 
one of the entries of hell. In that vale is great plenty of 
gold and silver. Wherefore many misbelieving men, and 
many Christian men also, go in oftentime for to have 
of the treasure that there is ; but few come again, and 
namely of the misbelieving men, ne of the Christian men 
neither, for anon they be strangled of devils. 

And in mid place of that vale, under a rock, is an head 
and the visage of a devil bodily, full horrible and dreadful 
to see, and it sheweth not but the head, to the shoulders, 


But there is no man in the world so hardy, Christian man 
ne other, but that he would be adread to behold it, 
and that it would seem him to die for dread, so is it 
hideous for to behold. For he beholdeth every man so 
sharply with dreadful eyen, that be evermore moving and 
sparkling as fire, and changeth and stirreth so often in 
diverse manner, with so horrible countenance, that no man 
dare not neighen towards him. And from him cometh out 
smoke and stinking fire and so much abomination, that 
unnethe no man may there endure. 

But the good Christian men, that be stable in the 
faith, enter well without peril. For they will first shrive 
them and mark them with the token of the holy cross, 
so that the fiends ne have no power over them. But albeit 
that they be without peril, yet, natheles, ne be they 
not without dread, when that they see the devils visibly 
and bodily all about them, that make full many diverse 
assaults and menaces, in air and in earth, and aghast them 
with strokes of thunder-blasts and of tempests. And 
the most dread is, that God will take vengeance then 
of that that men have misdone against his will. 

And ye shall understand, that when my fellows and 
I were in that vale, we were in great thought, whether 
that we durst put our bodies in adventure, to go in or 
not, in the protection of God. And some of our fellows 
accorded to enter, and some not. So there were with 
us two worthy men, friars minors, that were of Lombardy, 
that said, that if any man would enter they would go 
in with us. And when they had said so, upon the gracious 
trust of God and of them, we let sing mass, and made 
every man to be shriven and houseled. And then we 
entered fourteen persons ; but at our going out we were 
but nine. And so we wist never, whether that our fellows 
were lost, or else turned again for dread. But we saw 
them never after ; and those were two men of Greece, and 
three of Spain. And our other fellows that would not go 
in with us, they went by another coast to be before 
us ; and so they were. 

And thus we passed that perilous vale, and found therein 


gold and silver, and precious stones and rich jewels, great 
plenty, both here and there, as us seemed. But whether 
that it was, as us seemed, I wot never. For I touched 
none, because that the devils be so subtle to make a thing 
to seem otherwise than it is, for to deceive mankind. 
And therefore I touched none, and also because that I 
would not be put out of my devotion ; for I was more 
devout then, than ever I was before or after, and all 
for the dread of fiends that I saw in diverse figures, 
and also for the great multitude of dead bodies, that I saw 
there lying by the way, by all the vale, as though there had 
been a battle between two kings, and the mightiest of 
the country, and that the greater part had been discomfited 
and slain. And I trow, that unnethe should any country 
have so much people within him, as lay slain in that vale 
as us thought, the which was an hideous sight to see. 
And I marvelled much, that there were so many, and the 
bodies all whole without rotting. But I trow, that fiends 
made them seem to be so whole without rotting. But 
that might not be to mine advice that so many should 
have entered so newly, ne so many newly slain, with- 
out stinking and rotting. And many of them were in 
habit of Christian men, but I trow well, that it were of 
such that went in for covetise of the treasure that was there, 
and had overmuch feebleness in the faith ; so that their 
hearts ne might not endure in the belief for dread. And 
therefore were we the more devout a great deal. And 
yet we were cast down, and beaten down many times 
to the hard earth by winds and thunders and tempests. 
But evermore God of his grace holp us. And so we 
passed that perilous vale without peril and without encum- 
brance, thanked be Almighty God. 

After this, beyond the vale, is a great isle, where 
the folk be great giants of twenty-eight foot long, or 
of thirty foot long. And they have no clothing but of 
skins of beasts that they hang upon them. And they 
eat no bread, but all raw flesh ; and they drink milk of 
beasts, for they have plenty of all bestial. And they have 
no houses to lie in. And they eat more gladly Man's 


flesh than any other flesh. Into that isle dare no man 
gladly enter. And if they see a ship and men therein, 
anon they enter into the sea for to take them. 

And men said us, that in an isle beyond that were giants 
of greater stature, some of forty-five foot, or of fifty foot long, 
and, as some men say, some of fifty cubits long. But I 
saw none of those, for I had no lust to go to those parts, 
because that no man cometh neither into that isle ne into 
the other, but if he be devoured anon. And among those 
giants be sheep as great as oxen here, and they bear great 
wool and rough. Of the sheep I have seen many times. 
And men have seen, many times, those giants take men in 
the sea out of their ships, and brought them to land, 
two in one hand and two in another, eating them going, 
all raw and all quick. 

Another isle is there toward the north, in the sea Ocean, 
where that be full cruel and full evil women of nature. 
And they have precious stones in their eyen. And they be 
of that kind, that if they behold any man with wrath, they 
slay him anon with the beholding, as doth the basilisk. 

Another isle is there, full fair and good and great, and 
full of people, where the custom is such, that the first night 
that they be married, they make another man to lie by 
their wives for to have their maidenhead : and therefore 
they take great hire and great thank. And there be certain 
men in every town that serve of none other thing ; and 
they clepe them cadeberiz, that is to say, the fools of 
wanhope. For they of the country hold it so great a 
thing and so perilous for to have the maidenhead of a 
woman, that them seemeth that they that have first the 
maidenhead putteth him in adventure of his life. And if 
the husband find his wife maiden that other next night 
after that she should have been lain by of the man that is 
assigned therefore, peradventure for drunkenness or for 
some other cause, the husband shall plain upon him that he 
hath not done his devoir, in such cruel wise as though the 
officers would have slain him. But after the first night 
that they be lain by, they keep them so straitly that they 
be not so hardy to speak with no man. And I asked them 


the cause why that they held such custom : and they said 
me, that of old time men had been dead for deflowering of 
maidens, that had serpents in their bodies that stung men 
upon their yards, that they died anon : and therefore they 
held that custom, to make other men ordained therefore to 
lie by their wives, for dread of death, and to assay the 
passage by another [rather] than for to put them in that 

After that is another isle where that women make 
great sorrow when their children be y-born. And when 
they die, they make great feast and great joy and revel, 
and then they cast them into a great fire burning. And 
those that love well their husbands, if their husbands be 
dead, they cast them also in the fire with their children, 
and burn them. And they say that the fire shall cleanse 
them of all filths and of all vices, and they shall go 
pured and clean into another world to their husbands, and 
they shall lead their children with them. And the cause 
why that they weep, when their children be born is this ; 
for when they come into this world, they come to labour, 
sorrow and heaviness. And why they make joy and glad- 
ness at their dying is because that, as they say, then they 
go to Paradise where the rivers run milk and honey, where 
that men see them in joy and in abundance of goods, with- 
out sorrow and labour. 

In that isle men make their king evermore by election, 
and they ne choose him not for no noblesse nor for no riches, 
but such one as is of good manners and of good condi- 
tions, and therewithal rightfull, and also that he be of great 
age, and that he have no children. In that isle men be full 
rightfull and they do rightfull judgments in every cause 
both of rich and poor, small and great, after the quantity 
of the trespass that is mis-done. And the king may not 
doom no man to death without assent of his barons and 
other men wise of counsel, and that all the court accord 
thereto. And if the king himself do any homicide or any 
crime, as to slay a man, or any such case, he shall die 
there for. But he shall not be slain as another man ; but 
men shall defend, in pain of death, that no man be so 


hardy to make him company ne to speak with him, ne 
that no man give him, ne sell him, ne serve him, neither 
of meat ne of drink ; and so shall he die in mischief. They 
spare no man that hath trespassed, neither for love, ne for 
favour ne for riches, ne for noblesse ; but that he shall 
have after that he hath done. 

Beyond that isle is another isle, where is great multitude 
of folk. And they will not, for no thing, eat flesh of 
hares, ne of hens, ne of geese ; and yet they bring forth 
enough, for to see them and to behold them only ; but 
they eat flesh of all other beasts, and drink milk. - In that 
country they take their daughters and their sisters to their 
wives, and their other kinswomen. And if there be ten men 
or twelve men or more dwelling in an house, the wife of 
everych of them shall be common to them all that dwell 
in that house ; so that every man may lie with whom 
he will of them on one night, and with another, another 
night. And if she have any child, she may give it to 
what man that she list, that hath companied with her, so that 
no man knoweth there whether the child be his or 
another's. And if any man say to them, that they nourish 
other men's children, they answer that so do over men 

In that country and by all Ind be great plenty of cocko- 
drills, that is a manner of a long serpent, as I have said 
before. And in the night they dwell in the water, and on 
the day upon the land, in rocks and in caves. And they eat 
no meat in all the winter, but they lie as in a dream, as do 
the serpents. These serpents slay men, and they eat them 
weeping ; and when they eat they move the over jaw, and 
not the nether jaw, and they have no tongue. 

In that country and in many other beyond that, and 
also in many on this half, men put in work the seed of 
cotton, and they sow it every year. And then groweth it 
in small trees, that bear cotton. And so do men every 
year, so that there is plenty of cotton at all times. Item ; 
in this isle and in many other, there is a manner of wood, 
hard and strong. Whoso covereth the coals of that wood 
under the ashes thereof, the coals will dwell and abide all 


quick, a year or more. And that tree hath many leaves, 
as the juniper hath. And there be also many trees, that of 
nature they will never burn, ne rot in no manner. And 
there be nut trees, that bear nuts as great as a man's head. 
There also be many beasts, that be clept orafles. In 
Arabia, they be clept gerfaunts. That is a beast, pomely 
or spotted, that is but a little more high than is a steed, 
but he hath the neck a twenty cubits long ; and his croup 
and his tail is as of an hart ; and he may look over a great 
high house. And there be also in that country many 
camles ; that is a little beast as a goat, that is wild, and he 
liveth by the air and eateth nought, ne drinketh nought, at 
no time. And he changeth his colour often-time, for men 
see him often sithes, now in one colour and now in another 
colour; and he may change him into all manner colours 
that him list, save only into red and white. There be also 
in that country passing great serpents, some of six score 
foot long, and they be of diverse colours, as rayed, red, green, 
and yellow, blue and black, and all speckled. And there 
be others that have crests upon their heads, and they go 
upon their feet, upright, and they be well a four fathom 
great, or more, and they dwell always in rocks or in 
mountains, and they have alway the throat open, of 
whence they drop venom always. And there be also wild 
swine of many colours, as great as be oxen in our country, 
and they be all spotted, as be young fawns. And there 
be also urchins, as great as wild swine here ; we clepe them 
Porcz de Spine. And there be lions all white, great and 
mighty. And there be also of other beasts, as great and 
more greater than is a destrier, and men clepe them 
Loerancs ; and some men clepe them odenthos ; and they 
have a black head and three long horns trenchant in the 
front, sharp as a sword, and the body is slender ; and he is 
a full felonious beast, and he chaseth and slayeth the 
elephant. There be also many other beasts, full wicked 
and cruel, that be not mickle more than a bear, and they 
have the head like a boar, and they have six feet, and 
on every foot two large claws, trenchant ; and the body is 
like a bear, and the tail as a lion. And there be also mice 


as great as hounds, and yellow mice as great as ravens. 
And there be geese, all red, three sithes more great than 
ours here, and they have the head, the neck and the breast 
all black. 

And many other diverse beasts be in those countries, 
and elsewhere there-about, and many diverse birds also, of 
the which it were too long for to tell you. And therefore, 
I pass over at this time. 


Of the goodness of the folk of the Isle of Eragman. Of King 
Alexander. And wherefore the Emperor of Ind is clept 
Prester John 

AND beyond that isle is another isle, great and good and 
plenteous, where that be good folk and true, and of good 
living after their belief and of good faith. And albeit that 
they be not christened, ne have no perfect law, yet, 
natheles, of kindly law they be full of all virtue, and they 
eschew all vices and all malices and all sins. For they be 
not proud, ne covetous, ne envious, ne wrathful, ne 
gluttons, ne lecherous. Ne they do to any man other- 
wise than they would that other men did to them, and in 
this point they fulfil the ten commandments of God, and 
give no charge of avoir, ne of riches. And they lie 
not, ne they swear not for none occasion, but they say 
simply, yea and nay ; for they say, he that sweareth will 
deceive his neighbour, and therefore, all that they do, they 
do it without oath. 

And men clepe that isle the Isle of Bragman, and some 
men clepe it the Land of Faith. And through that land 
runneth a great river that is clept Thebe. And, in 
general, all the men of those isles and of all the marches 
thereabout be more true than in any other countries there- 
about, and more rightfull than others in all things. In 


that isle is no thief, ne murderer, ne common woman, 
ne poor beggar, ne never was man slain in that country. 
And they be so chaste, and lead so good life, as that 
they were religious men, and they fast all days. And 
because they be so true and so rightfull, and so full of all 
good conditions, they were never grieved with tempests, 
ne with thunder, ne with light, ne with hail, ne with 
pestilence, ne with war, ne with hunger, ne with none 
other tribulation, as we be, many times, amongst us, for 
our sins. Wherefore, it seemeth well, that God loveth 
them and is pleased with their creaunce for their good 
deeds. They believe well in God, that made all things, 
and him they worship. And they prize none earthly 
riches ; and so they be all rightfull. And they live full 
ordinately, and so soberly in meat and drink, that they live 
right long. And the most part of them die without sick- 
ness, when nature faileth them, for eld. 

And it befell in King Alexander's time, that he purposed 
him to conquer that isle and to make them to hold of him. 
And when they of the country heard it, they sent messen- 
gers to him with letters, that said thus; What may be 
enough to that man to whom all the world is insufficient ? 
Thou shalt find nothing in us, that may cause thee to war 
against us. For we have no riches, ne none we covet, 
and all the goods of our country be in common. Our 
meat, that we sustain withal our bodies, is our riches. 
And, instead of treasure of gold and silver, we make our 
treasure of accord and peace, and for to love every man 
other. And for to apparel with our bodies we use a silly 
little clout for to wrap in our carrion. Our wives ne be not 
arrayed for to make no man pleasance, but only convenable 
array for to eschew folly. When men pain them to array 
the body for to make it seem fairer than God made it, they 
do great sin. For man should not devise ne ask greater 
beauty, than God hath ordained man to be at his birth. 
The earth ministereth to us two things, our livelihood, 
that cometh of the earth that we live by, and our sepulture 
after our death. We have been in perpetual peace till 
now, that thou come to disinherit us. And also we have a 


king, not only for to do justice to every man, for he shall 
find no forfeit among us; but for to keep noblesse, and 
for to shew that we be obeissant, we have a king. For 
justice ne hath not among us no place, for we do to no 
man otherwise than we desire that men do to us. So that 
righteousness ne vengeance have nought to do among us. 
So that nothing thou may take from us, but our good 
peace, that always hath dured among us. 

And when King Alexander had read these letters, he 
thought that he should do great sin, for to trouble them. 
And then he sent them sureties, that they should not be 
afeard of him, and that they should keep their good 
manners and their good peace, as they had used before, of 
custom. And so he let them alone. 

Another isle there is, that men clepe Oxidrate, and 
another isle, that men clepe Gynosophe, where there is also 
good folk, and full of good faith. And they hold, for the 
most part, the good conditions and customs and good 
manners, as men of the country abovesaid ; but they go 
all naked. 

Into that isle entered King Alexander, to see the 
manner. And when he saw their great faith, and their 
truth that was amongst them, he said that he would not 
grieve them, and bade them ask of him what that they 
would have of him, riches or anything else, and they 
should have it, with good will. And they answered, that 
he was rich enough that had meat and drink to sustain the 
body with, for the riches of this world, that is transitory, is 
not worth ; but if it were in his power to make them 
immortal, thereof would they pray him, and thank him. 
And Alexander answered them that it was not in his power 
to do it, because he was mortal, as they were. And then 
they asked him why he was so proud and so fierce, and so 
busy for to put all the world under his subjection, right as 
thou were a God, and hast no term of this life, neither day 
ne hour, and wiliest to have all the world at thy com- 
mandment, that shall leave thee without fail, or thou leave 
it. And right as it hath been to other men before thee, 
right so it shall be to other after thee. And from hence 


shalt thou bear nothing ; but as thou were born naked, 
right so all naked shall thy body be turned into earth that 
thou were made of. Wherefore thou shouldest think and 
impress it in thy mind, that nothing is immortal, but only 
God, that made all thing. By the which answer Alexander 
was greatly astonished and abashed, and all confused 
departed from them. 

And albeit that these folk have not the articles of our 
faith as we have, natheles, for their good faith natural, 
and for their good intent, I trow fully, that God loveth 
them, and that God take their service to gree, right as he 
did of Job, that was a paynim, and held him for his true 
servant. And therefore, albeit that there be many diverse 
laws in the world, yet I trow, that God loveth always them 
that love him, and serve him meekly in truth, and namely 
them that despise the vain glory of this world, as this folk 
do and as Job did also. 

And therefore said our Lord by the mouth of Hosea 
the prophet, Ponam eis multiplices leges meas; and also in 
another place, Qui totum orbem subdit suis legibus. And 
also our Lord saith in the Gospel, Alias oves habeo, que non 
sunt ex hoc ovi/i, that is to say, that he had other servants 
than those that be under Christian law. And to that 
accordeth the avision that Saint Peter saw at Jaffa, how the 
angel came from heaven, and brought before him diverse 
beasts, as serpents and other creeping beasts of the earth, 
and of other also, great plenty, and bade him take and 
eat. And Saint Peter answered; I eat never, quoth he, 
of unclean beasts. And then said the angel, Non dicas 
immunda, que Deus mundavit. And that was in token that 
no man should have in despite none earthly man for their 
diverse laws, for we know not whom God loveth, ne 
whom God hateth. And for that example, when men say, 
De profundis, they say it in common and in general, with 
the Christian, Pro animabus omnium defunctorum, pro quibus 
sit orandum. 

And therefore say I of this folk, that be so true and so 
faithful, that God loveth them. For he hath amongst 
them many of the prophets, and alway hath had. And 


in those isles, they prophesied the Incarnation of our 
Lord Jesu Christ, how he should be born of a maiden, 
three thousand year or more or our Lord was born 
of the Virgin Mary. And they believe well in the 
Incarnation, and that full perfectly, but they know not 
the manner, how he suffered his passion and death for 

And beyond these isles there is another isle that is clept 
Pytan. The folk of that country ne till not, ne labour 
not the earth, for they eat no manner thing. And they 
be of good colour and of fair shape, after their greatness. 
But the small be as dwarfs, but not so little as be the 
Pigmies. These men live by the smell of wild apples. 
And when they go any far way, they bear the apples with 
them ; for if they had lost the savour of the apples, they 
should die anon. They ne be not full reasonable, but they 
be simple and bestial. 

After that is another isle, where the folk be all skinned 
rough hair, as a rough beast, save only the face and the 
palm of the hand. These folk go as well under the water 
of the sea, as they do above the land all dry. And they 
eat both flesh and fish all raw. In this isle is a great river 
that is well a two mile and an half of breadth that is clept 

And from that river a fifteen journeys in length, going 
by the deserts of the tother side of the river whoso might 
go it, for I was not there, but it was told us of them of 
the country, that within those deserts were the trees of the 
sun and of the moon, that spake to King Alexander, and 
warned him of his death. And men say that the folk that 
keep those trees, and eat of the fruit and of the balm that 
groweth there, live well four hundred year or five hundred 
year, by virtue of the fruit and of the balm. For men say 
that balm groweth there in great plenty and nowhere else, 
save only at Babylon, as I have told you before. We 
would have gone toward the trees full gladly if we had 
might. But I trow that 100,000 men of arms might not 
pass those deserts safely, for the great multitude of wild 
beasts and of great dragons and of great serpents that 


there be, that slay and devour all that come anent them. 
In that country be many white elephants without number, 
and of unicorns and of lions of many manners, and many 
of such beasts that I have told before, and of many other 
hideous beasts without number. 

Many other isles there be in the land of Prester John, 
and many great marvels, that were too long to tell all, both 
of his riches and of his noblesse and of the great plenty 
also of precious stones that he hath. I trow that ye know 
well enough, and have heard say, wherefore this emperor 
is clept Prester John. But, natheles, for them that know 
not, I shall say you the cause. 

It was sometime an emperor there, that was a worthy 
and a full noble prince, that had Christian knights in his 
company, as he hath that is now. So it befell, that he 
had great list for to see the service in the church among 
Christian men. And then dured Christendom beyond 
the sea, all Turkey, Syria, Tartary, Jerusalem, Palestine, 
Arabia, Aleppo and all the land of Egypt. And so it 
befell that this emperor came with a Christian knight with 
him into a church in Egypt. And it was the Saturday in 
Whitsun-week. And the bishop made orders. And he 
beheld, and listened the service full tentively. And he 
asked the Christian knight what men of degree they 
should be that the prelate had before him. And the 
knight answered and said that they should be priests. 
And then the emperor said that he would no longer be 
clept king ne emperor, but priest, and that he would have 
the name of the first priest that went out of the church, 
and his name was John. And so ever-more sithens, he is 
clept Prester John. 

In his land be many Christian men of good faith and of 
good law, and namely of them of the same country, and 
have commonly their priests, that sing the Mass, and 
make the sacrament of the altar, of bread, right as the 
Greeks do ; but they say not so many things at the Mass 
as men do here. For they say not but only that that the 
apostles said, as our Lord taught them, right as Saint 
Peter and Saint Thomas and the other apostles sung the 


Mass, saying the Pater Noster and the words of the sacra- 
ment. But we have many more additions that divers 
popes have made, that they ne know not of. 


Of the Hills of Gold that Pismires keep. And of the four 
Floods that come from Paradise terrestrial 

TOWARD the east part of Prester John's land is an isle 
good and great, that men clepe Taprobane, that is full 
noble and full fructuous. And the king thereof is full rich, 
and is under the obeissance of Prester John. And always 
there they make their king by election. In that isle be 
two summers and two winters, and men harvest the corn 
twice a year. And in all the seasons of the year be the 
gardens flourished. There dwell good folk and reason- 
able, and many Christian men amongst them, that be so 
rich that they wit not what to do with their goods. Of 
old time, when men passed from the land of Prester John 
unto that isle, men made ordinance for to pass by ship, 
twenty-three days, or more ; but now men pass by ship in 
seven days. And men may see the bottom of the sea in 
many places, for it is not full deep. 

Beside that isle, toward the east, be two other isles. 
And men clepe that one Orille, and that other Argyte, of 
the which all the land is mine of gold and silver. And 
those isles be right where that the Red Sea departeth from 
the sea ocean. And in those isles men see there no stars 
so clearly as in other places. For there appear no stars, 
but only one clear star that men clepe Canapos. And 
there is not the moon seen in all the lunation, save only 
the second quarter. 

In the isle also of this Taprobane be great hills of gold, 
that pismires keep full diligently. And they fine the 
pured gold, and cast away the un-pured. And these 


pismires be great as hounds, so that no man dare come 
to those hills, for the pismires would assail them and 
devour them anon. So that no man may get of that gold, 
but by great sleight. And therefore when it is great heat, 
the pismires rest them in the earth, from prime of the day 
into noon. And then the folk of the country take camels, 
dromedaries, and horses and other beasts, and go thither, 
and charge them in all haste that they may ; and after 
that, they flee away in all haste that the beasts may go, or 
the pismires come out of the earth. And in other times, 
when it is not so hot, and that the pismires ne rest them not 
in the earth, then they get gold by this subtlety. They 
take mares that have young colts or foals, and lay upon 
the mares void vessels made there-for ; and they be all 
open above, and hanging low to the earth. And then they 
send forth those mares for to pasture about those hills, and 
with-hold the foals with them at home. And when the 
pismires see those vessels, they leap in anon : and they 
have this kind that they let nothing be empty among 
them, but anon they fill it, be it what manner of thing 
that it be ; and so they fill those vessels with gold. And 
when that the folk suppose that the vessels be full, they 
put forth anon the young foals, and make them to neigh 
after their dams. And then anon the mares return towards 
their foals with their charges of gold. And then men 
discharge them, and get gold enough by this subtlety. 
For the pismires will suffer beasts to go and pasture 
amongst them, but no man in no wise. 

And beyond the land and the isles and the deserts of 
Prester John's lordship, in going straight toward the east, 
men find nothing but mountains and rocks, full great. 
And there is the dark region, where no man may see, 
neither by day ne by night, as they of the country say. 
And that desert and that place of darkness dure from 
this coast unto Paradise terrestrial, where that Adam, our 
formest father, and Eve were put, that dwelled there but 
little while : and that is towards the east at the beginning 
of the earth. But that is not that east that we clepe our 
east, on this half, where the sun riseth to us. For when 


the sun is east in those parts towards Paradise terrestrial, it 
is then midnight in our parts on this half, for the round- 
ness of the earth, of the which I have touched to you of 
before. For our Lord God made the earth all round in 
the mid place of the firmament. And there as mountains 
and hills be and valleys, that is not but only of Noah's 
flood, that wasted the soft ground and the tender, and fell 
down into valleys, and the hard earth and the rocks abide 
mountains, when the soft earth and tender waxed nesh 
through the water, and fell and became valleys. 

Of Paradise ne can I not speak properly. For I was not 
there. It is far beyond. And that forthinketh me. And 
also I was not worthy. But as I have heard say of wise 
men beyond, I shall tell you with good will. 

Paradise terrestrial, as wise men say, is the highest place 
of earth, that is in all the world. And it is so high that it 
toucheth nigh to the circle of the moon, there as the moon 
maketh her turn ; for she is so high that the flood of Noah 
ne might not come to her, that would have covered all the 
earth of the world all about and above and beneath, save 
Paradise only alone. And this Paradise is enclosed all 
about with a wall, and men wit not whereof it is ; for the 
walls be covered all over with moss, as it seemeth. And 
it seemeth not that the wall is stone of nature, ne of none 
other thing that the wall is. And that wall stretcheth 
from the south to the north, and it hath not but one entry 
that is closed with fire, burning ; so that no man that is 
mortal ne dare not enter. 

And in the most high place of Paradise, even in the 
middle place, is a well that casteth out the four floods that 
run by divers lands. Of the which, the first is clept Pison, 
or Ganges, that is all one ; and it runneth throughout Ind 
or Emlak, in the which river be many precious stones, and 
much of lignum aloes and much gravel of gold. And that 
other river is clept Nilus or Gison, that goeth by Ethiopia 
and after by Egypt. And that other is clept Tigris, that 
runneth by Assyria and by Armenia the great. And that 
other is clept Euphrates, that runneth also by Media and 
Armenia and by Persia. And men there beyond say, that 


all the sweet waters of the world, above and beneath, take 
their beginning of the well of Paradise, and out of that 
well all waters come and go. 

The first river is clept Pison, that is to say in their 
language, Assembly; for many other rivers meet them 
there, and go into that river. And some men clepe it 
Ganges, for a king that was in Ind, that hight Gangeres, 
and that it ran throughout his land. And that water [is] in 
some place clear, and in some place troubled, in some place 
hot, and in some place cold. 

The second river is clept Nilus or Gison ; for it is 
always trouble ; and Gison, in the language of Ethiopia, is 
to say, trouble, and in the language of Egypt also. 

The third river, that is clept Tigris, is as much for to 
say as, fast-running ; for he runneth more fast than any of 
the tother ; and also there is a beast, that is clept tigris, 
that is fast-running. 

The fourth river is clept Euphrates, that is to say, 
well-bearing ; for there grow many goods upon that river, 
as corns, fruits and other goods enough plenty. 

And ye shall understand that no man that is mortal ne 
may not approach to that Paradise. For by land no man 
may go for wild beasts that be in the deserts, and for 
the high mountains and great huge rocks that no man 
may pass by, for the dark places that be there, and that 
many. And by the rivers may no man go. For the 
water runneth so rudely and so sharply, because that it 
cometh down so outrageously from the high places above, 
that it runneth in so great waves, that no ship may not 
row ne sail against it. And the water roareth so, and 
maketh so huge noise and so great tempest, that no man 
may hear other in the ship, though he cried with all the 
craft that he could in the highest voice that he might. 
Many great lords have assayed with great will, many 
times, for to pass by those rivers towards Paradise, with 
full great companies. But they might not speed in their 
voyage. And many died for weariness of rowing against 
those strong waves. And many of them became blind, 
and manv deaf, for the noise of the water. And some 


were perished and lost within the waves. So that no 
mortal man may approach to that place, without special 
grace of God, so that of that place I can say you no 
more; and therefore, I shall hold me still, and return 
to that, that I have seen. 


Of the Customs of Kings and other that dwell in the Isles 
coasting to Prester Johns Land. And of the Worship 
that the Son doth to the Father when he is dead 

FROM those isles that I have spoken of before, in the Land 
of Prester John, that be under earth as to us that be on 
this half, and of other isles that be more further beyond, 
whoso will, pursue them for to come again right to the parts 
that he came from, and so environ all earth. But what for 
the isles, what for the sea, and what for strong rowing, few 
folk assay for to pass that passage ; albeit that men might 
do it well, that might be of power to dress them thereto, 
as I have said you before. And therefore men return 
from those isles abovesaid by other isles, coasting from the 
land of Prester John. 

And then come men in returning to an isle that is clept 
Casson. And that isle hath well sixty journeys in length, 
and more than fifty in breadth. This is the best isle and 
the best kingdom that is in all those parts, out-taken 
Cathay. And if the merchants used as much that country 
as they do Cathay, it would be better than Cathay in a 
short while. This country is full well inhabited, and so full 
of cities and of good towns inhabited with people, that 
when a man goeth out of one city, men see another city 
even before them ; and that is what part that a man go, in 
all that country. In that isle is great plenty of all goods 
for to live with, and of all manner of spices. And there 
be great forests of chestnuts. The king of that isle is full 


rich and full mighty, and, natheles, he holds his land 
of the great Chan, and is obeissant to him. For it is one 
of the twelve provinces that the great Chan hath under 
him, without his proper land, and without other less isles 
that he hath ; for he hath full many. 

From that kingdom come men, in returning, to another 
isle that is clept Rybothe, and it is also under the great 
Chan. That is a full good country, and full plenteous of 
all goods and of wines and fruit and all other riches. And 
the folk of that country have no houses, but they dwell 
and lie all under tents made of black fern, by all the 
country. And the principal city and the most royal is all 
walled with black stone and white. And all the streets 
also be pathed of the same stones. In that city is no man 
so hardy to shed blood of any man, ne of no beast, for the 
reverence of an idol that is worshipped there. And in that 
isle dwelleth the pope of their law, that they clepe Lobassy. 
This Lobassy giveth all the benefices, and all other digni- 
ties and all other things that belong to the idol. And all 
those that hold anything of their churches, religious and 
other, obey to him, as men do here to the Pope of 

In that isle they have a custom by all the country, that 
when the father is dead of any man, and the son list to do 
great worship to his father, he sendeth to all his friends 
and to all his kin, and for religious men and priests, and 
for minstrels also, great plenty. And then men bear the 
dead body unto a great hill with great joy and solemnity. 
And when they have brought it thither, the chief prelate 
smiteth off the head, and layeth it upon a great platter of 
gold and of silver, if so [he] be a rich man. And then 
he taketh the head to the son. And then the son and his 
other kin sing and say many orisons. And then the priests 
and the religious men smite all the body of the dead man 
in pieces. And then they say certain orisons. And the 
fowls of ravine of all the country about know the custom 
of long time before, [and] come flying above in the air ; as 
eagles, gledes, ravens and other fowls of ravine, that eat 
flesh. And then the priests cast the gobbets of the flesh ; 


and then the fowls, each of them, taketh that he may, and 
goeth a little thence and eateth it ; and so they do whilst 
any piece lasteth of the dead body. 

And after that, as priests amongst us sing for the dead, 
Subvenitc Sancti Dei, etc.) right so the priests sing with high 
voice in their language ; Behold how so worthy a man and 
how good a man this was, that the angels of God come for 
to seek him and for to bring him into Paradise. And then 
seemeth it to the son, that he is highly worshipped, when 
that many birds and fowls and ravens come and eat his 
father ; and he that hath most number of fowls is most 

And then the son bringeth home with him all his kin, and 
his friends, and all the others to his house, and maketh 
them a great feast. And then all his friends make their 
vaunt and their dalliance, how the fowls came thither, here 
five, here six, here ten, and there twenty, and so forth ; and 
they rejoice them hugely for to speak thereof. And when 
they be at meat, the son let bring forth the head of his 
father, and thereof he giveth of the flesh to his most special 
friends, instead of entre messe, or a sukkarke. And of the 
brain pan, he letteth make a cup, and thereof drinketh he 
and his other friends also, with great devotion, in remem- 
brance of the holy man, that the angels of God have eaten. 
And that cup the son shall keep to drink of all his life- 
time, in remembrance of his father. 

From that land, in returning by ten journeys through- 
out the land of the great Chan, is another good isle 
and a great kingdom, where the king is full rich and 

And amongst the rich men of his country is a passing 
rich man, that is no prince, ne duke, ne earl, but he 
hath more that hold of him lands and other lordships, for 
he is more rich. For he hath, every year, of annual rent 
300,000 horses charged with corn of diverse grains and of 
rice. And so he leadeth a full noble life and a delicate, 
after the custom of the country. For he hath, every day, 
fifty fair damosels, all maidens, that serve him evermore at 
his meat, and for to lie by him o' night, and for to do 


with them that is to his pleasance. And when he is at 
table, they bring him his meat at every time, five and five 
together ; and in bringing their service they sing a song. 
And after that, they cut his meat, and put it in his mouth; 
for he toucheth nothing, ne handleth nought, but holdeth 
evermore his hands before him upon the table. For he 
hath so long nails, that he may take nothing, ne handle 
nothing. For the noblesse of that country is to have 
long nails, and to make them grow always to be as long as 
men may. And there be many in that country, that have 
their nails so long, that they environ all the hand. And 
that is a great noblesse. And the noblesse of the women 
is for to have small feet and little. And therefore anon as 
they be born, they let bind their feet so strait, that they 
may not grow half as nature would. And this is the nobleye 
of the women there to have small feet and little. And 
always these damosels, that I spake of before, sing all the 
time that this rich man eateth. And when that he eateth 
no more of his first course, then other five and five of fair 
damsels bring him his second course, always singing as 
they did before. And so they do continually every day 
to the end of his meat. And in this manner he leadeth 
his life. And so did they before him, that were his 
ancestors. And so shall they that come after him, with- 
out doing of any deeds of arms, but live evermore thus in 
ease, as a swine that is fed in sty for to be made fat. He 
hath a full fair palace and full rich, where that he dwelleth 
in, of the which the walls be, in circuit, two mile. And 
he hath within many fair gardens, and many fair halls and 
chambers ; and the pavement of his halls and chambers be 
of gold and silver. And in the mid place of one of his 
gardens is a little mountain, where there is a little meadow. 
And in that meadow is a little toothill with towers and 
pinnacles, all of gold. And in that little toothill will he 
sit often-time, for to take the air and to disport him. For 
the place is made for nothing else, but only for his 

From that country men come by the land of the great 
Chan also, that I have spoken of before. 


And ye shall understand, that of all these countries, and 
of all these isles, and of all the diverse folk, that I have 
spoken of before, and of diverse laws, and of diverse beliefs 
that they have, yet is there none of them all but that they 
have some reason within them and understanding, but if it 
be the fewer, and that have certain articles of our faith and 
some good points of our belief, and that they believe in 
God, that formed all things and made the world, and 
clepe him God of Nature ; after that the prophet saith, 
Et metuent eum omnes fines terrae, and also in another 
place, Omnes genfes servient /', that is to say, ' All folk shall 
serve him.' 

But yet they cannot speak perfectly (for there is no 
man to teach them), but only that they can devise by 
their natural wit. For they have no knowledge of the 
Son, ne of the Holy Ghost. But they can all speak 
of the Bible, and namely of Genesis, of the prophet's saws 
and of the books of Moses. And they say well, that the 
creatures that ''"they worship ne be no gods; but they 
worship them for the virtue that is in them, that may not 
be but only by the grace of God. And of simulacres and 
of idols, they say, that there be no folk, but that they 
have simulacres. And that they say, for we Christian men 
have images, as of our Lady and of other saints that 
we worship ; not the images of tree or of stone, but 
the saints, in whose name they be made after. For right 
as the books and the scripture of them teach the clerks 
how and in what manner they shall believe, right so the 
images and the paintings teach the lewd folk to worship 
the saints and to have them in their mind, in whose names 
that the images be made after. They say also, that the 
angels of God speak to them in those idols, and that they 
do many great miracles. And they say sooth, that there 
is an angel within them. For there be two manner of 
angels, a good and an evil, as the Greeks say, Cacho 
and Calo. This Cacho is the wicked angel, and Calo is the 
good angel. But the tother is not the good angel, but the 
wicked angel that is within the idols to deceive v them and 
for to maintain them in their error. 


There be many other divers countries and many other 
marvels beyond, that I have not seen. Wherefore, of 
them I cannot speak properly to tell you the manner of 
them. And also in the countries where I have been, be 
many more diversities of many wonderful things than I 
make mention of; for it were too long thing to devise you 
the manner. And therefore, that that I have devised you 
of certain countries, that I have spoken of before, I beseech 
your worthy and excellent noblesse, that it suffice to you 
at this time. For if that I devised you all that is beyond 
the sea, another man, peradventure, that would pain him 
and travail his body for to go into those marches for to 
ensearch those countries, might be blamed by my words in 
rehearsing many strange things ; for he might not say 
nothing of new, in the which the hearers might have 
either solace, or disport, or lust, or liking in the hearing. 
For men say always, that new things and new tidings be 
pleasant to hear. Wherefore I will hold me still, without 
any more rehearsing of diversities or of marvels that be 
beyond, to that intent and end, that whoso will go into 
those countries, he shall find enough to speak of, that I have 
not touched of in no wise. 

And ye shall understand, if it like you, that at mine 
home-coming, I came to Rome, and shewed my life to 
our holy father the pope, and was assoiled of all that lay 
in my conscience, of many a diverse grievous point; as 
men must needs that be in company, dwelling amongst so 
many a diverse folk of diverse sect and of belief, as I 
have been. 

And amongst all I shewed him this treatise, that I had 
made after information of men that knew of things that I 
had not seen myself, and also of marvels and customs that 
I had seen myself, as far as God would give me grace; 
and besought his holy fatherhood, that my book might 
be examined and corrected by advice of his wise and 
discreet council. And our holy father, of his special 
grace, remitted my book to be examined and proved by 
the advice of his said counsel. By the which my book 
was proved for true, insomuch, that they shewed me a 


book, that my book was examined by, that comprehended 
full much more, by an hundred part, by the which the 
Mappa Mundi was made after. And so my book (albeit 
that many men ne list not to give credence to nothing, but 
to that that they see with their eye, ne be the author ne 
the person never so true) is affirmed and proved by our 
holy father, in manner and form as I have said. 

And I, John Mandevile, knight, abovesaid (although I 
be unworthy), that departed from our countries and passed 
the sea, the year of grace a thousand three hundred and 
twenty two, that have passed many lands and many isles 
and countries, and searched many full strange places, and 
have been in many a full good honourable company, and 
at many a fair deed of arms (albeit that I did none myself, 
for mine unable msuffisance), now I am come home, 
maugre myself, to rest, for gouts artetykes that me distrain, 
that define the end of my labour ; against my will (God 

And thus, taking solace in my wretched rest, recording 
the time passed, I have fulfilled these things, and put them 
written in this book, as it would come into my mind, the 
year of grace a thousand three hundred and fifty six, in the 
thirty-fourth year, that I departed from our countries. 

Wherefore, I pray to all the readers and hearers of this 
book, if it please them, that they would pray to God for 
me ; and I shall pray for them. And all those that say 
for me a Pater Noster, with an Ave Maria, that God forgive 
me my sins, I make them partners, and grant them part of 
all the good pilgrimages and of all the good deeds that I 
have done, if any be to his pleasance ; and not only of those, 
but of all that ever I shall do unto my life's end. And I 
beseech Almighty God, from whom all goodness and 
grace cometh from, that he vouchsafe of his excellent 
mercy and abundant grace, to fulfil their souls with 
inspiration of the Holy Ghost, in making defence of all 
their ghostly enemies here in earth, to their salvation both 
of body and soul ; to worship and thanking of him, that is 
three and one, without beginning and without ending ; 
that is without quality, good, without quantity, great ; 


that in all places is present, and all things containing ; the 
which that no goodness may amend, ne none evil impair ; 
that in perfect Trinity liveth and reigneth God, by all 
worlds, and by all times ! 

Amen I Amen I Amen ! 




Taken from the 1598-1600 Edition of Richard Hakluyfs 
" Navigations, Voyages, and Discoveries " 



Of the first Sending of certain Friars Praedicants and 
Minorites unto the 'Tartars \ taken out of the 32. Book of 
Vincentius Eeluacensis^ his Speculum Historiale : beginning 
at the second Chapter 

ABOUT this time also, Pope Innocentius the fourth sent 
Friar Ascelline, being one of the order of the Praedicants, 
together with three other friars (of the same authority 
whereunto they were called) consorted with him out of 
divers convents of their order, with letters apostolical unto 
the Tartars' camp ; wherein he exhorted them to give 
over their bloody slaughter of mankind, and to receive the 
Christian faith. And I, in very deed, received the relations 
concerning the deeds of the Tartars only (which, according 
to the congruence of times, I have above inserted into this 
my work) from a friar minorite, called Simon de Sanct 
Quintin, who lately returned from the same voyage. And 
at that very time also, there was a certain other friar 
minorite, namely, Friar John de Piano Carpini, sent with 
certain associates unto the Tartars, who likewise (as him- 
self witnesseth) abode and conversed with them a year and 
three months at the least. For both he and one Friar 
Benedict, a Polonian, being of the same order, and a 



partaker of all his misery and tribulation, received strait 
commandment from the Pope, that both of them should 
diligently search out all things that concerned the state 
of the Tartars. And therefore this Friar John hath 
written a little History (which is come to our hands) of 
such things, as with his own eyes he saw among the 
Tartars, of which he heard from divers Christians worthy 
of credit, remaining there in captivity. Out of which 
nistory I thought good by way of conclusion, to insert 
somewhat for the supply of those things which are wanting 
in the said Friar Simon. 


Of the Situation and Duality of the Tartar's Land. 
By Johannes de Piano Carpini 

THERE is towards the east a land which is called Mongal 
or Tartaria, lying in that part of. the world which is 
thought to be most north easterly. On the_ east part 
it hath the country of Kythay and of the people called 
Solangi : on the south part the country of the Saracens : 
on the south-east the land of the Huini : and on the west 
the province of Naimani : but on the north side it is 
environed with the ocean sea. In some part thereof it 
is full of mountains, and in other places plain and smooth 
ground, but everywhere sandy and barren, neither is the 
hundredth part thereof fruitful. For it cannot bear fruit 
unless it be moistened with river waters, which be very 
rare in that country. Whereupon they have neither 
villages, nor cities among them, except one which is called 
Cracurim, and is said to be a proper town. We ourselves 
saw not this town, but were almost within half a day's 
journey thereof, when we remained at Syra Orda, which is 
the great court of their emperor. And albeit the foresaid 
land is otherwise unfruitful, yet it is very commodious for 


the bringing up of cattle. In certain places thereof are 
some small store of trees growing, but otherwise it is 
altogether destitute of woods. Therefore the emperor, 
and his noble men and all other warm themselves, and 
dress their meat with fires made of the dung of oxen, and 
horses. The air also in that country is very intemperate. 
For in the midst of summer there be great thunders and 
lightnings, by the which many men are slain, and at the 
same time there falleth great abundance of snow. There 
be also such mighty tempests of cold winds, that some- 
times men are not able to sit on horseback. Whereupon, 
being near unto the Orda (for by this name they call the 
habitations of their emperors and noble men), in regard of 
the great wind we were constrained to lie groveling on 
the earth, and could not see by reason of the dust. There 
is never any rain in winter, but only in summer, albeit in 
so little quantity, that sometimes it scarcely sufficeth to 
allay the dust, or to moisten the roots of the grass. There 
is often times great store of hail also. Insomuch that 
when the emperor elect was to be placed in his imperial 
throne (myself being then present) there fell such abun- 
dance of hail, that, upon the sudden melting thereof, more 
than 1 60 persons were drowned in the same place ; there 
were many tents and other things also carried away. 
Likewise, in the summer season there is on the sudden 
extreme heat, and suddenly again intolerable cold. 


Of their Form, Habit > and Manner of Living 

THE Mongals or Tartars, in outward shape, are unlike to 
all other people. For they are broader between the eyes, 
and the balls of their cheeks, than men of other nations 
be. They have flat and small noses, little eyes, and 
eyelids standing straight upright, they are shaven on the 


crowns like priests. They wear their hair somewhat 
longer about their ears, than upon their foreheads ; but 
behind they let it grow long like woman's hair, whereof 
they braid two locks, binding each of them behind either ear. 
They have short feet also. The garments, as well of their 
men, as of their women are all of one fashion. They use 
neither cloaks, hats, nor capes. But they wear jackets 
framed after a strange manner, of buckram, scarlet, or 
baldakins. Their shoubes or gowns are hairy on the 
outside, and open behind, with tails hanging down to their 
hams. They use not to wash their garments, neither will 
in anywise suffer them to be washed, especially in the time 
of thunder. Their habitations be round and cunningly 
made with wickers and staves in manner of a tent. But 
in the midst of the tops thereof, they have a window open 
to convey the light in and the smoke out. For their fire 
is always in the midst. Their walls be covered with felt. 
Their doors are made of felt also. Some of these 
tabernacles may quickly be taken asunder, and set together 
again, and are carried upon beasts' backs. Other some 
cannot be taken asunder, but are stowed upon carts. And 
whithersoever they go, be it either to war or to any 
other place, they transport their tabernacles with them. 
They are very rich in cattle, as in camels, oxen, sheep, 
and goats. And I think they have more horses and 
mares than all the world besides. But they have no kine 
nor other beasts. Their emperors, dukes, and other of 
their nobles do abound with silk, gold, silver, and precious 
stones. Their victuals are all things that may be eaten ; 
for we saw some of them eat lice. They drink milk in 
great quantity, but especially mares' milk, if they have it. 
They seeth mill also in water, making it so thin, that they 
may drink thereof. Every one of them drinks off a cup- 
full, or two, in a morning, and sometime they eat nought 
else all the day long. But in the evening each man hath 
a little flesh given him to eat, and they drink the broth 
thereof. Howbeit in summer time, when they have mares' 
milk enough, they seldom eat flesh, unless perhaps it be 
given them, or they take some beast or bird in hunting. 



Of their Manners both good and bad 

THEIR manners are partly praiseworthy, and partly detest- 
able; for they are more obedient unto their lords and masters, 
than any other either clergy or lay-people in the whole 
world. For they do highly reverence them, and will 
deceive them neither in words nor deeds. They seldom 
or never fall out among themselves, and, as for fightings 
or brawlings, wounds or manslaughters, they never happen 
among them. There are neither thieves nor robbers of 
great riches to be found, and therefore the tabernacles and 
carts of them that have any treasures are not strengthened 
with locks or bars. If any beast go astray, the finder 
thereof either lets it go, or driveth it to them that are put 
in office for the same purpose, at whose hands the owner 
of the said beast demandeth it, and without any difficulty 
receiveth it again. One of them honoureth another exceed- 
ingly, and bestoweth banquets very familiarly and liberally, 
notwithstanding that good victuals are dainty and scarce 
among them. They are also very hardy, and when they 
have fasted a day or two without any manner of sustenance, 
they sing and are merry as if they had eaten their bellies 
full. In riding, they endure much cold and extreme heat. 
There be, in a manner, no contentions among them, and 
although they use commonly to be drunken, yet do they 
not quarrel in their drunkenness. No one of them despiseth 
another but helpeth and furthereth him, as much as con- 
veniently he can. Their women are chaste, neither is there 
so much as a word uttered concerning their dishonesty. 
Some of them will notwithstanding speak filthy and im- 
modest words. But towards other people, the said Tartars 
be most insolent, and they scorn and set nought by all other 
noble and ignoble persons whatsoever. For we saw in the 
emperor's court the great Duke of Russia, the king's son 
of Georgia, and many great soldans receiving no due 


honour and estimation among them. So that even the 
very Tartars assigned to give attendance unto them, were 
they never so base, would always go before them, and 
take the upper hand of them, yea, and sometimes would 
constrain them to sit behind their backs. Moreover they 
are angry and of a disdainful nature unto other people, and 
beyond all measure deceitful, and treacherous towards them. 
They speak fair in the beginning, but in conclusion, they 
sting like scorpions. For crafty they are, and full of false- 
hood, circumventing all men whom they are able, by their 
sleights. Whatsoever mischief they intend to practise 
against a man, they keep it wonderfully secret, so that he 
may by no means provide for himself, nor find a remedy 
against their conspiracies. They are unmannerly also and 
uncleanly in taking their meat and their drink, and in other 
actions. Drunkenness is honourable among them, and 
when any of them hath taken more drink than his stomach 
can well bear, he calleth it up and falls to drinking again. 
They are most intolerable exactors, most covetous pos- 
sessors, and most niggardly givers. The slaughter of other 
people is accounted a matter of nothing with them. 


Of their Laws and Customs 

MOREOVER, they have this law or custom, that whatsoever 
man or woman be manifestly taken in adultery, they are 
punished with death. A virgin likewise that hath com- 
mitted fornication, they slay together with her mate. 
Whosoever be taken in robbery or theft, is put to death 
without all pity. Also, if any man disclose their secrets, 
especially in time of war, he receiveth an hundred blows on 
the back with a bastinado, laid on by a tall fellow. In 
like sort when any inferiors offend in aught, they find no 
favour at their superiors* hands, but are punished with 


grievous stripes. They are joined in matrimony to all in 
general, yea, even to their near kinsfolks except their 
mother, daughter and sister by the mother's side. For 
they use to marry their sister by the father's side only, and 
also the wife of their father after his decease. The younger 
brother also, or some other of his kindred, is bound to 
marry the wife of his elder brother deceased. For, at the 
time of our abode in the country, a certain duke of Russia 
named Andreas, was accused before Duke Baty for con- 
veying the Tartars' horses out of the land, and for selling 
them to others ; and although it could not be proved, yet 
was he put to death. His younger brother and the wife 
of the party deceased hearing this, came and made their 
supplication unto the forenamed duke, that the dukedom 
of Russia might not be taken from them. But he com- 
manded the youth to marry his deceased brother's wife, 
and the woman also to take him unto her husband, accord- 
ing to the custom of the Tartars. She answered, that she 
had rather die, than so heinously transgress the law. 
Howbeit, he delivered her unto him, although they both 
refused as much as they could. Wherefore carrying them 
to bed, they constrained the youth, lamenting and weeping, 
to lie down and commit incest with his brother's wife. 
To be short, after the death of their husbands, the Tartars' 
wives use very seldom to marry the second time, unless 
perhaps some man takes his brother's wife, or his step- 
mother, in marriage. They make no difference between 
the son of their wife and of their concubine, but the father 
gives what he pleaseth unto each one ; for of late the king 
of Georgia having two sons, one lawfully begotten called 
Melich; but the other, David, born in adultery, at his 
death left part of his land unto his base son. Hereupon 
Melich (unto whom the kingdom fell by right of his 
mother, because it was governed beforetime by women) 
went unto the Emperor of the Tartars, David also having 
taken his journey unto him. Now both of them coming 
to the court and proffering large gifts, the son of the 
harlot made suit, that he might have justice, according to 
the custom of the Tartars. Well, sentence passed against 


Melich, that David, being his elder brother, should have 
superiority over him, and should quietly and peaceably 
possess the portion of land granted unto him by his father. 
Whensoever a Tartar hath many wives, each one of them 
hath her family and dwelling-place by herself. And 
sometime the Tartar eateth, drinketh and lieth with one, 
and sometime with another. One is accounted chief 
among the rest, with whom he is oftener conversant than 
with the other. And notwithstanding (as it hath been 
said) they are many, yet do they seldom fall out among 


Of their Superstitious Traditions 

BUT by reason of certain traditions, which either they or 
their predecessors have devised, they account some things 
indifferent to be faults. One is to thrust a knife into the 
fire, or any way to touch the fire with a knife, or with 
their knife to take flesh out of the cauldron, or to hew 
with an hatchet near unto the fire. For they think by 
that means to take away the head or force from the fire. 
Another is to lean upon the whip, wherewith they beat 
their horses : for they ride not with spurs. Also to touch 
arrows with a whip, to take or kill young birds, to strike 
an horse with the rein of their bridle, and to break one 
bone against another. Also to pour out milk, meat, or 
any kind of drink upon the ground or to make water 
within their tabernacle : which whosoever doth willingly, 
he is slain, but otherwise he must pay a great sum of 
money to the enchanter to be purified. Who likewise 
must cause the tabernacle, with all things therein, to pass 
between two fires. Before it be on this wise purified no 
man dare once enter into it, nor convey anything thereout. 
Besides, if any man hath a morsel given him, which he is 
not able to swallow, and for that cause casteth it out of his 


mouth, there is an hole made under his tabernacle, by 
which he is drawn forth and slain without all compassion. 
Likewise, whosoever treads upon the threshold of any of 
their duke's tabernacles, he is put to death. Many other 
things there be, like unto these, which they take for heinous 
offences. But to slay men, to invade the dominions of 
other people, and to rifle their goods, to transgress the 
commandments and prohibitions of God, are with them no 
offences at all. They know nothing concerning eternal 
life, and everlasting damnation, and yet they think that 
after death they shall live in another world, that they shall 
multiply their cattle, that they shall eat and drink and do 
other things which living men perform here upon earth. 
At a new moon, or a full moon, they begin all enterprises 
that they take in hand, and they call the moon the Great 
Emperor, and worship it upon their knees. All men that 
abide in their tabernacles must be purified with fire : 
which purification is on this wise. They kindle two fires, 
and pitch two javelins into the ground near unto the said 
fires, bending a cord to the tops of the javelins. And about 
the cord they tie certain jags of buckram, under which 
cord, and between which fires, men, beasts, and tabernacles 
do pass. There stand two women also, one on the right 
side, and another on the left, casting water, and repeating 
certain charms. If any man be slain by lightning, all that 
dwell in the same tabernacle with him must pass by fire in 
manner aforesaid. For their tabernacles, beds, and carts, 
theirselves and garments, and whatsoever such things they 
have, are touched by no man, yea, and are abandoned by 
all men as things unclean. And to be short, they think 
that all things are to be purged by fire. Therefore, when 
any ambassadors, princes, or other personages whatsoever 
come unto them, they and their gifts must pass between 
two fires to be purified, lest peraventure they have practised 
some witchcraft, or have brought some poison or other 
mischief with them. 



Of the beginning of their Empire or Government 

THE east country, whereof we have entreated, which is 
called Mongal, is reported to have had of old time four 
forces of people. One of their companions was called 
Yeka Mongal, that is, the Great Mongals. The second 
company was called Sumongal, that is, the Water-Mongals, 
who called themselves Tartars, of a certain river running 
through their country named Tartar. The third was 
called Merkat, and the fourth Metrit. All these people 
had one and the same person, attire of body and language, 
albeit they were divided by princes and provinces. In the 
province of Yeka Mongal, there was a certain man called 
Chingis. This man became a mighty hunter. For he 
learned to steal men, and to take them for a prey. He 
ranged into other countries taking as many captives as he 
could, and joining them unto himself. Also he allured 
the men of his own country unto him, who followed him 
as their captain and ringleader to do mischief. Then 
began he to make war upon the Sumongals or Tartars, 
and slew their captain, and after many conflicts, subdued 
them unto himself, and brought them all into bondage. 
Afterward he used their help to fight against the Merkats, 
dwelling by the Tartars, whom also he vanquished in 
battle. Proceeding from thence, he fought against the 
Metrites, and conquered them also. The Naimani hearing 
that Chingis was thus exalted, greatly disdained thereat. 
For they had a mighty and puissant emperor, unto whom 
all the foresaid nations paid tribute. Whose sons, when 
he was dead, succeeded him in his empire. Howbeit, 
being young and foolish, they knew not how to govern 
the people, but were divided, and fell at variance among 
themselves. Now Chingis being exalted, as is aforesaid, 
they nevertheless invaded the forenamed countries, put 
the inhabitants to the sword, and carried away their goods 


for a prey. WhichjChingis having intelligence of, gathered 
all his subjects together. The Naimani also and the people 
called Karakitay assembled and banded themselves at a 
certain strait valley, where, after a battle fought they were 
vanquished by the Mongals. And being thus vanquished, 
they were, the greater part of them, slain ; and others, 
which could not escape, were carried into captivity. In 
the land of the foresaid Karakytayans, Occoday Cham, the 
son of Chingis Cham, after he was created emperor, built 
a certain city, which he called Chanyl. Near unto which 
city, on the south side, there is an huge desert, wherein 
wild men are certainly reported to inhabit, which cannot 
speak at all, and are destitute of joints in their legs, so 
that if they fall, they cannot rise alone by themselves. 
Howbeit, they are of discretion to make felts of camel's 
hair, wherewith they clothe themselves, and which they 
hold against the wind. And if at any time, the Tartars 
pursuing them, chance to wound them with their arrows, 
they put herbs into their wounds, and fly strongly before 


Of the Mutual Victories between them> and the People of 


BUT the Mongals returning home into their own country, 
prepared themselves to battle against the Kythayans : 
which their Emperor hearing, set forward against them 
with his army, and they fought a cruel battle, wherein the 
Mongals were overcome, and all their nobles in the army, 
except seven, were slain. And for this cause, when they, 
purposing to invade any region, are threatened by the 
inhabitants thereof to be slain, they do, to this day, answer : 
In old time also our whole number besides being slain, we 
remained but seven of us alive, and yet notwithstanding we 
are now grown unto a great multitude ; think not there- 


fore to daunt us with such brags. But Chingis and the 
residue that remained alive, fled home into their country. 
And having breathed him a little, he prepared himself to 
war, and went forth against the people called Huyri. 
These men were Christians of the sect of Nestorius. And 
these also the Mongals overcame, and received letters or 
learning from them : for before that time they had not the 
art of writing, and now they call it the hand or letters of 
the Mongals. Immediately after, he marched against the 
country of Saruyur, and of the Karanites, and against the 
land of Hudirat ; all which he vanquished. Then returned 
he home into his own country, and breathed himself. 
Afterward, assembling his warlike troops, they marched 
with one accord against the Kythayans, and waging war 
with them a long time, they conquered a great part of 
their land, and shut up their emperor into his greatest 
city ; which city they had so long time besieged, that they 
began to want necessary provision for their army. And 
when they had no victuals to feed upon, Chingis Cham 
commanded his soldiers, that they should eat every tenth 
man of the company. But they of the city fought man- 
fully against them, with engines, darts, and arrows, and 
when stones wanted they threw silver, and especially 
melted silver : for the same city abounded with great 
riches. Also, when the Mongals had fought a long time 
and could not prevail by war, they made a great trench 
underneath the ground from the army unto the midst of 
the city, and there issuing forth they fought against the 
citizens, and the remnant also without the walls fought in 
like manner. 'At last, breaking open the gates of the 
city, they entered, and putting the emperor, with many 
other to the sword, they took possession thereof and con- 
veyed away the gold, silver, and all the riches therein. 
And having appointed certain deputies over the country, 
they returned home into their own land. This is the first 
time, when the Emperor of the Kythayans, being van- 
quished, Chingis Cham obtained the empire. But some 
part of the country, because it lieth within the sea, they 
could by no means conquer unto this day. The men of 


Kytay are pagans, having a special kind of writing by 
themselves, and (as it is reported) the Scriptures of the 
Old and New Testament. They have also recorded in 
histories the lives of their forefathers : and they have 
hermits, and certain houses made after the manner of our 
churches, which in those days they greatly resorted unto. 
They say that they have divers saints also, and they 
worship one God. They adore and reverence Christ 
Jesus our Lord, and believe the article of eternal life, but 
are not baptized. They do also honourably esteem and 
reverence our Scriptures. They love Christians, and 
bestow much alms, and are a very courteous and gentle 
people. They have no beards, and they agree partly with 
the Mongals in the disposition of their countenance. In 
all occupations which men practise, there are not better 
artificers in the whole world. Their country is exceeding 
rich, in corn, wine, gold, silk, and other commodities. 


Of their War against India Major and Minor 

AND when the Mongals with their Emperor Chingis Cham 
had awhile rested themselves after the foresaid victory, they 
divided their armies. For the emperor sent one of his sons, 
named Thossut (whom also they called Can, that is to say 
emperor), with an army against the people of Comania, 
whom he vanquished with much war, and afterward 
returned into his own country. But he sent his other son 
with an army against the Indians, who also subdued India 
Minor. These Indians are the black Saracens, which are 
also called Aethiopians. But here the army marched for- 
ward to fight against Christians dwelling in India Major. 
Which the king of the country hearing (who is commonly 
called Presbiter John) gathered his soldiers together, and 
came forth against them. And making men's images of 


copper, he set each of them upon a saddle on horseback, 
and put fire within them, and placed a man with a pair of 
bellows on the horseback behind every image. And so 
with many horses and images in such sort furnished, they 
marched on to fight against the Mongals or Tartars. And 
coming near unto the place of the battle, they first of all 
sent those horses in order one after another. But the men 
that sat behind laid I wot not what upon the fire within the 
images, and blew strongly with their bellows. Whereupon 
it came to pass, that the men and the horses were burnt 
with wild fire, and the air was darkened with smoke. 
Then the Indians cast darts upon the Tartars, of whom 
many were wounded and slain. And so they expelled them 
out of their dominions with great confusion, neither did we 
hear, that ever they returned thither again. 


How being repelled by Monstrous Men shapen like Dogs, 
they overcame the People of Burithabeth 

BUT returning through the deserts, they came into a 
certain country, wherein (as it was reported unto us in 
the emperor's court, by certain clergymen of Russia, and 
others, who were long time among them, and that by 
strong and steadfast affirmation) they found certain 
monsters resembling women : who being asked by many 
interpreters, where the men of that land were, they 
answered, that whatsoever women were borne there, were 
indued with the shape of mankind, but the males were 
like unto dogs. And delaying the time, in that country 
they met with the said dogs on the other side of the river. 
And in the midst of sharp winter, they cast themselves 
into the water : afterward they wallowed in the dust upon 
the main land, and so the dust being mingled with water, 
was frozen to their backs, and having often times so done, 


the ice being strongly frozen upon them, with great fury 
they came to fight against the Tartars. And when the 
Tartars threw their darts, or shot their arrows among them, 
they rebounded back again, as if they had lighted upon 
stones. And the rest of their weapons could by no means 
hurt them. Howbeit, the dogs made an assault upon the 
Tartars, and wounding some of them with their teeth, and 
flaying others, at length they drove them out of their 
countries. And thereupon they have a proverb of the same 
matter, as yet rife among them, which they speak in jesting 
sort one to another : my father or my brother was slain of 
dogs. The women which they took, they brought into 
their own country, who remained there till their dying 
day. And in travelling homewards, the said army of the 
Mongals came unto the land of Burithabeth (the inhabitants 
whereof are pagans) and conquered the people in battle. 
These people have a strange or rather a miserable kind of 
custom. For when any man's father deceaseth, he assembleth 
all his kindred, and they eat him. These men have no 
beards at all, for we saw them carry a certain iron instru- 
ment in their hands, wherewith, if any hairs grow upon 
their chin, they presently pluck them out. They are also 
very deformed. From thence the Tartars army returned 
to their own home. 


How they had the Repulse at the Caspian Mountains^ and 
were driven back by Men dwelling in Caves 

MOREOVER, Chingis Cham, at the same time when he sent 
other armies against the east, he himself marched with a 
power into the land of Kergis, which notwithstanding, he 
conquered not in that expedition, and as it was reported 
unto us, he went on forward even to the Caspian moun- 
tains. But the mountains on that part where they en- 
camped themselves, were of adamant, and therefore they 


drew unto them their arrows, and weapons of iron. And 
certain men contained within those Caspian mountains, 
hearing, as it was thought, the noise of the army, made a 
breach through, so that when the Tartars returned unto 
the same place ten years after, they found the mountain 
broken. And attempting to go unto them, they could 
not : for there stood a cloud before them, beyond which 
they were not able to pass, being deprived of their sight so 
soon as they approached thereunto. But they on the 
contrary side thinking that the Tartars durst not come 
nigh them, gave the assault, and when they came at the 
cloud, they could not proceed for the cause aforesaid. 
Also the Tartars, before they came unto the said moun- 
tains, passed for the space of a month and more through 
a vast wilderness, and departing thence towards the east, 
they were above a month travelling through another huge 
desert. At length, they came unto a land wherein they saw 
beaten ways, but could not find any people. Howbeit, at 
the last, diligently seeking, they found a man and his wife, 
whom they presented before Chingis Cham : and demand- 
ing of them where the people of that country were they 
answered, that the people inhabited under the ground in 
mountains. Then Chingis Cham keeping still the woman, 
sent her husband unto them, giving them charge to come 
at his command. And going unto them, he declared all 
things that Chingis Cham had commanded them. But 
they answered, that they would upon such a day visit him, 
to satisfy his desire. And in the mean season, by blind 
and hidden passages under the earth, assembling them- 
selves, they came against the Tartars in warlike manner, 
and suddenly issuing forth, they slew a great number of 
them. This people were not able to endure the terrible 
noise, which in that place the sun made at his uprising: 
for at the time of the sunrising, they were enforced to lay 
one ear upon the ground, and to stop the other close, lest 
they should hear that dreadful sound. Neither could they 
so escape, for by this means many of them were destroyed. 
Chingis Cham, therefore, and his company, seeing that 
they prevailed not, but continually lost some of their 


number, fled and departed out of that land. But the man 
and his wife aforesaid they carried along with them, who 
all their lifetime continued in the Tartars' country. Being 
demanded why the men of their country do inhabit under 
the ground, they said, that at a certain time of the year, when 
the sun riseth, there is such an huge noise, that the people 
cannot endure it. Moreover, they use to play upon 
cymbals, drums, and other musical instruments, to the 
end they may not hear that sound. 


Of the Statutes of Chingis Cham, of his Death, of his 
Sons, and of his Dukes 

BUT as Chingis Cham returned out of that country, his 
people wanted victuals, and suffered extreme famine. 
Then by chance they found the fresh entrails of a beast: 
which they took, and casting away the dung thereof, 
caused it to be sodden, brought it before Chingis Cham, 
and did eat thereof. And hereupon Chingis Cham en- 
acted : that neither the blood, nor the entrails, nor any 
other part of a beast which might be eaten, should be 
cast away, save only the dung. Wherefore he returned 
thence into his own land, and there he ordained laws and 
statutes, which the Tartars do most strictly and inviolably 
observe, of the which we have before spoken. He was 
afterward slain by a thunderclap. He had four sons : the 
first was called Occoday, the second Thossut Can, the 
third Thiaday : the name of the fourth is unknown. 
From these four descended all the dukes of the Mongals. 
The first son of Occoday is Cuyne, who is now emperor, 
his brothers be Cocten and Chyrinen. The sons of 
Thossut Can are Bathy, Ordu, Siba, and Bora. Bathy 
next unto the emperor, is richer and mightier than all the 
rest. But Ordu is the seignior of all the dukes. The sons 


of Thiaday be Hurin and Cadan. The sons of Chingis 
Cham his other son, whose name is unknown, are Mengu, 
Bithat, and certain others. The mother of Mengu was 
named Seroctan, and of all others most honoured among 
the Tartars, except the emperor's mother, and mightier 
than any subject except Bathy. These be the names of 
the dukes : Ordu, who was in Poland, and in Hungary ; 
Bathy also and Hurin and Cadan, and Siban, and Ouygat, 
all which were in Hungary. In like manner Cyrpodan, 
who is as yet beyond the sea, making war against certain 
soldans of the Saracens, and other inhabitants of far 
countries. Others remained in the land, as namely 
Mengu, Chyrinen, Hubilai, Sinocur, Cara, Gay, Sybedey, 
Bora, Berca, Corrensa. There be many other of their 
dukes, whose names are unknown unto us. 


Of the Authority of the Emperor, and of his Dukes 

MOREOVER, the Emperor of the Tartars hath a wonderful 
dominion over all his subjects, for no man dare abide in 
any place, unless he hath assigned him to be there. Also 
he himself appointeth to his dukes where they should in- 
habit. Likewise the dukes assign places unto every 
millenary, or conductor of a thousand soldiers, the millen- 
aries unto each captain of an hundred, the captains unto 
every corporal of ten. Whatsoever is given them in 
charge, whensoever, or wheresoever, be it to fight or to 
lose their lives, or howsoever it be, they obey without any 
gainsaying. For if he demandeth any man's daughter, or 
sister, being a virgin, they presently deliver her unto him 
without all contradiction ; yea, often times he makes a 
collection of virgins throughout all the Tartars dominions, 
and those whom he means to keep, he retaineth unto him- 
self, others he bestoweth unto his men. Also, whatsoever 


messenger he sendeth, or whithersoever, his subjects must 
without delay find them horses and other necessaries. In 
like sort, from what country soever tribute-payers, or 
ambassadors come unto him, they must have horses, 
carnages, and expenses allowed them. Notwithstanding, 
ambassadors coming from other places do suffer great 
misery, and are in much want both of victuals, and of 
apparel : especially when they come to any of the dukes, 
and there they are constrained to make some lingering 
abode. Then ten men are allowed so little sustenance, 
that scarcely two could live thereon. Likewise, if any 
injuries be offered them, they cannot without danger make 
complaint. Many gifts also are demanded of them, both 
by dukes and others, which if they do not bestow, they are 
basely esteemed, and set at nought. And hereupon, we 
were of necessity enforced to bestow in gifts a great part 
of those things which were given us by well disposed people, 
to defray our charges. To be short, all things are so in the 
power and possession of the emperor, that no man dare 
say, This is mine, or this is my neighbour's ; but all, both 
goods, cattle and men are his own. Concerning this matter 
also he published a statute of late. The very same authority 
and jurisdiction, do the dukes in like sort exercise upon 
their subjects. 


Of the Election of Emperor Occoday, and of the Expedition of 

Duke Eathy 

AFTER the death of Chingis Cham aforesaid, the dukes 
assembled themselves and chose Occoday his son to be 
their emperor. And he, entering into consultation with 
his nobles, divided his armies, and sent Duke Bathy his 
nephew against the country of Altisoldan, and against the 
people called Bisermini, who were Saracens, but spake the 
language of Comania. The Tartars invading their country, 


fought with them and subdued them in battle. But a 
certain city called Barchin resisted them a long time. For 
the citizens had cast up many ditches and trenches about 
their city, in regard whereof the Tartars could not take it, 
till they had filled the said ditches. But the citizens of 
Sarguit hearing this, came forth to meet them, yielding 
themselves unto them of their own accord. Whereupon 
their city was not destroyed, but they slew many of them 
and others they carried away captive, and taking spoils, 
they filled the city with other inhabitants, and so marched 
forth against the city of Orna. This town was very 
populous and exceeding rich. For there were many 
Christians therein, as namely Gasarians, Russians, and 
Alanians, with others, and Saracens also. The government 
of the city was in the Saracens' hand. It standeth upon a 
mighty river, and is a kind of port town having a great 
mart exercised therein. And when the Tartars could not 
otherwise overcome it, they turned the said river, running 
through the city, out of his channel, and so drowned the 
city with the inhabitants and their goods. Which being 
done, they set forward against Russia, and made foul havoc 
there, destroying cities and catties and murdering the 
people. They laid siege a long while unto Kiow, the chief 
city of Russia, and at length they took it and slew the 
citizens. Whereupon, travelling through that country, we 
found an innumerable multitude of dead men's skulls and 
bones lying upon the earth. For it was a very large and 
populous city, but it is now in a manner brought to nothing : 
for there do scarce remain 200 houses, the inhabitants 
whereof are kept* in extreme bondage. Moreover, out of 
Russia and Comania, they proceeded forward against the 
Hungarians, and the Polonians, and there many of them 
were slain, as is aforesaid; and had the Hungarians man- 
fully withstood them, the Tartars had been confounded 
and driven back. Returning from thence, they invaded 
the country of the Morduans, being pagans, and conquered 
them in battle. Then they marched against the people 
called Byleri, or Bulgaria magna, and utterly wasted the 
country. From thence they proceeded towards the north 


against the people called Bastarci, or Hungaria magna, and 
conquered them also. And so going on further north, 
they came into the Parossitae, who having little stomachs 
and small mouths, eat not anything at all, but seeing flesh 
they stand or sit over the pot, and receiving the steam or 
smoke thereof, are therewith only nourished, and if they 
eat anything it is very little. From thence they came to 
the Samogetae, who live only upon hunting, and use to 
dwell in tabernacles only, and to wear garments made of 
beasts' skins. From thence they proceeded unto a country 
lying upon the ocean sea, where they found certain monsters, 
who in all things resembled the shape of men, saving that 
their feet were like the feet of an ox, and they had 
indeed men's heads but dogs' faces. They spake, as it 
were, two words like men, but at the third they barked 
like dogs. From hence they retired into Comania, and 
there some of them remain unto this day. 


Of the Expedition of Duke Cyrpodan 

AT the same time Occoday Can sent Duke Cyrpodan with 
an army against Kergis, who also subdued them in battle. 
These men are pagans, having no beards at all. They 
have a custom when any of their fathers die, for grief and 
in token of lamentation, to draw as it were, a leather thong 
overthwart their faces, from one ear to the other. This 
nation being conquered, Duke Cyrpodan marched with his 
forces southward against the Armenians. And travelling 
through certain desert places, they found monsters in the 
shape of men, which had each of them but one arm and 
one hand growing out of the midst of their breast, and 
but one foot. Two of them used to shoot in one bow, 
and they ran so swiftly, that horses could not overtake 
them. They ran also upon that one foot by hopping and 


leaping, and being weary of such walking they went upon 
their hand and their foot, turning themselves round, as it 
were in a circle. And being weary of so doing, they ran 
again according to their wonted manner. Isidore calleth 
them cyclopedes. And as it was told us in court, by the 
clergymen of Russia, who remain with the foresaid em- 
peror, many ambassadors were sent from them unto the 
emperor's court, to obtain peace. From thence they pro- 
ceeded forth into Armenia, which they conquered in battle, 
and part also of Georgia. And the other part is under 
their jurisdiction, paying as yet every year unto them for 
tribute, 20,000 pieces of coin called Yperpera. From 
thence they marched into the dominions of the puissant 
and mighty Soldan called Deurum, whom also they van- 
quished in fight. And to be short, they went on farther 
sacking and conquering, even unto the Soldan of Aleppo 
his dominions, and now they have subdued that land also, 
determining to invade other countries beyond it : neither 
returned they afterward into their own land unto this day. 
Likewise the same army marched forward against the 
Caliph of Baldach his country, which they subdued also, 
and exacted at his hands the daily tribute of 400 
byzantines, 1 besides baldakines and other gifts. Also 
every year they send messengers unto the caliph moving 
him to come unto them. Who sending back great gifts 
together with his tribute beseecheth them to be favourable 
unto him. Howbeit the Tartarian Emperor receiveth all 
his gifts, and yet nevertheless sends for him, to have 
him come. 


How the 'Tartars behave themselves in War 

CHINGIS CHAM divided his Tartars by captains of ten, 
captains of an hundred, and captains of a thousand, and over 

1 I.e. Bezants. 


ten millenaries or captains of a thousand, he placed as it 
were, one colonel, and yet notwithstanding over one whole 
army he authorized two or three dukes, but yet so that all 
should have especial regard unto one of the said dukes. 
And when they join battle against any other nation, unless 
they do all with one consent give back, every man that 
flies is put to death. And if one or two, or more of ten 
proceed manfully to the battle, but the residue of those ten 
draw back and follow not the company, they are in like 
manner slain. Also, if one among ten or more be taken, 
their fellows, if they rescue them not, are punished with 
death. Moreover they are enjoined to have these weapons 
following. Two long bows or one good one at the least, 
three quivers full of arrows, and one axe, and ropes to draw 
engines withal. But the richer sort have single-edged 
swords, with sharp points, and somewhat crooked. They 
have also armed horses, with their shoulders and breasts 
defenced ; they have helmets and brigandines. Some of 
them have jackets, and caparisons for their horses made 
of leather artificially doubled or trebled upon their bodies. 
The upper part of their helmet is of iron or steel, but that 
part which compasseth about the neck and the throat is of 
leather. Howbeit some of them have all their foresaid 
furniture of iron framed in manner following. They beat 
out many thin plates a finger broad, and a handful long, 
and making in every one of them eight little holes, they 
put thereunto three strong and straight leather thongs. 
So they join the plates one to another, as it were, ascend- 
ing by degrees. Then they tie the plates unto the said 
thongs, with other small and slender thongs, drawn through 
the holes aforesaid, and in the upper part, on each side 
thereof, they fasten one small doubled thong unto another, 
that the plates may firmly be knit together. These they 
make, as well for their horses' caparisons, as for the armour 
of their men : and they scour them so bright that a man 
may behold his face in them. Some of them upon the 
neck of their lance have an hook, wherewithal they attempt 
to pull men out of their saddles. The heads of their 
arrows are exceedingly sharp, cutting both ways like a 


two-edged sword, and they always carry a file in their 
quivers to whet their arrowheads. They have targets 
made of wickers, or of small rods. Howbeit they do not 
(as we suppose) accustom to carry them, but only about 
the tents, or in the emperor's or duke's guards, and that 
only in the night season. They are most politic in wars, 
having been exercised therein with other nations for the 
space of these forty-two years. When they come at any 
rivers, the chief men of the company have a round and 
light piece of leather, about the borders whereof making 
many loops, they put a rope into them to draw it together 
like a purse, and so bring it into the round form of a ball, 
which leather they fill with their garments and other 
necessaries, trussing it up most strongly. But upon the 
midst of the upper part thereof, they lay their saddles and 
other hard things ; there also do the men themselves sit. 
This their boat they tie unto an horse tail, causing a man 
to swim before, and to guide over the horse, or sometime 
they have two oars to row themselves over. The first 
horse, therefore, being driven into the water, all the others' 
horses of the company follow him, and so they pass 
through the river. But the poorer sort of common 
soldiers have every man his leather bag or satchel well 
sewn together, wherein he packs up all his trinkets, and 
strongly trussing it up hangs it at his horse's tail, and so 
passeth over, in manner aforesaid. 


How they may be Resisted 

I DEEM not any one kingdom or province able to resist 
them : because they use to take up soldiers out of every 
country of their dominions. And if so be the neighbour 
province which they invade, will not aid them, utterly 
wasting it, with the inhabitants thereof, whom they take 


from thence with them, they proceed on to fight against 
another country. And placing their captives in the fore- 
front of the battle, if they fight not courageously they put 
them to the sword. Wherefore, if Christians would 
withstand them, it is expedient, that the provinces and 
governors of countries should agree in one, and so by 
common counsel, should give them resistance. Their 
soldiers also must be furnished with strong hand-bows and 
cross-bows, which they greatly dread, and with sufficient 
arrows, with maces also of good iron, or an axe with a long 
handle or staff. When they make their arrowheads, they 
must (according to the Tartars' custom) dip them red-hot 
into water mingled with salt, that they may be strong to 
pierce the enemies' armour. They that will may have 
swords also and lances with hooks at the ends, to pull them 
from their saddles, out of which they are easily removed. 
They must have helmets likewise and other armour to 
defend themselves and their horses from the Tartars' 
weapons and arrows, and they that are unarmed, must 
(according to the Tartars' custom) march behind their 
fellows, and discharge at the enemy with long-bows and 
cross-bows. And (as it is above said of the Tartars) they 
must orderly dispose their bands and troops, and ordain 
laws for their soldiers. Whosoever runneth to the prey or 
spoil, before the victory be achieved, must undergo a most 
severe punishment. For such a fellow is put to death 
among the Tartars without all pity or mercy. The place 
of battle must be chosen, if it be possible, in a plain field, 
where they may see round about ; neither must all be in 
one company, but in many and several bands, not very far 
distant one from another. They which give the first 
encounter must send one band before, and must have 
another in a readiness to relieve and second the former 
in time convenient. They must have spies, also, on every 
side, to give them notice when the rest of the enemy's 
bands approach. For therefore ought they always to send 
forth band against band and troop against troop, because 
the Tartar ever practiseth to iget his enemy in the midst 
and so to environ him. Let our bands take this caveat 


also, if the enemy retire, not to make any long pursuit after 
him, lest peradventure (according to his custom) he might 
draw them into some secret ambush : for the Tartar fights 
more by policy than by main force. And again, lest our 
horses be tired : for we are not so well stored with horses 
as they. Those horses which the Tartars use one day, they 
ride not upon three or four days after. Moreover, if the 
Tartars draw homeward, our men must not therefore 
depart and cashier their bands, or separate themselves 
asunder : because they do this upon policy, namely to have 
our army divided, that they may more securely invade and 
waste the country. And in very deed, our captains ought 
both day and night to keep their army in a readiness : and 
not to lie out of their armour, but at all assays, to be pro- 
vided for battle. For the Tartars like devils are always 
watching and devising how to practise mischief. Further- 
more, if in battle any of the Tartars be cast off their 
horsebacks, they must presently be laid hold on and taken, 
for being on foot they shoot strongly, wounding and 
killing both horses and men. 


Of the Journey of Friar John unto the First Guard of the 


WE therefore by the commandment of the See Apostolic 
setting forth towards the nations of the East, chose first 
to travel unto the Tartars, because we feared that there 
might be great danger imminent upon the Church of God 
next unto them, by their invasions. Proceeding on there- 
fore, we came to the King of Bohemia, who being of our 
familiar acquaintance, advised us to take our journey 
through Polonia and Russia. For we had kinsfolks in 
Polonia, by whose assistance, we might enter Russia. 
Having given us his letters, he caused our charges also to 


be defrayed, in all his chief houses and cities, till we came 
unto his nephew Boleslaus, Duke of Slesia, who also was 
familiar and well known unto us. The like favour he 
shewed us also, till we came unto Conradus, Duke of 
Lautiscia, unto whom then (by God's especial favour 
towards us) Lord Wasilico, Duke of Russia, was come, 
from whose mouth we heard more at large concerning the 
deeds of the Tartars : for he had sent ambassadors thither, 
who were returned back unto him. Wherefore, it being 
given us to understand, that we must bestow gifts upon 
them, we caused certain skins of beavers and other beasts 
to be bought with part of that money, which was given 
upon alms to succour us by the way. Which thing Duke 
Conradus and the dukes of Cracow, and a bishop, and 
certain soldiers being advertised of, gave us likewise more 
of the same skins. And to be short, Duke Wasilico being 
earnestly requested by the Duke of Cracow, and by the 
bishop and barons, on our behalf, conducted us with him, 
unto his own land, and there for certain days, entertained 
us at his own charges, to the end that we might refresh 
ourselves awhile. And when, being requested by us, he 
had caused his bishops to consort unto him, we read before 
them the Pope's letters, admonishing them to return unto 
the unity of the church. To the same purpose also, we 
ourselves admonished them, and to our ability, induced as 
well the duke as the bishops and others thereunto. How- 
beit, because Duke Daniel the brother of Wasilico 
aforesaid (having as then taken his journey unto Baty) 
was absent, they could not at that time make a final 
answer. After these things Duke Wasilico sent us forward 
with one of his servants as far as Kiow, the chief city of 
Russia. Howbeit we were always in danger of our lives 
by reason of the Lituanians, who did often invade the 
borders of Russia, even in those very places by which we 
were to pass. But in regard of the foresaid servant, 
we were out of the Russians' danger, the greatest part of 
whom were either slain, or carried into captivity by the 
Tartars. Moreover, at Danilon we were feeble even unto 
the death. (Notwithstanding we caused ourselves to be 


carried in a waggon through the snow and extreme cold.) 
And being come unto Kiow, we consulted with the 
millenary, and other noble men there concerning our 
journey. They told us, that if we carried those horses, 
which we then had, unto the Tartars, great store of snow 
lying upon the ground, they would all die : because they 
knew now how to dig up the grass under the snow, as the 
Tartarian horses do, neither could there be aught found 
for them to eat, the Tartars having neither hay nor straw, 
nor any other fodder. We determined therefore to leave 
them behind at Kiow with two servants appointed to keep 
them. And we were constrained to bestow gifts upon the 
millenary, that we might obtain his favour to allow us post 
horses and a guide. Wherefore beginning our journey the 
second day after the feast of the purification, we arrived at 
the town of Canow, which was immediately under the 
dominion of the Tartars. The governor whereof allowed 
us horses and a guide unto another town, wherein we 
found one Michaeas to be governor, a man full of malice 
and despite, who notwithstanding, having received gifts 
at our hands, according to his manner conducted us to the 
first guard of the Tartars. 


How he and his Company were at the first received of 
the Tartars 

WHEREFORE the first Saturday next after Ashwednesday, 
having about the sun's going down taken up our place of 
rest, the armed Tartars came rushing upon us in uncivil 
and horrible manner, being very inquisitive of us what 
manner of persons, or of what condition we were : and 
when we had answered them that we were the Pope's 
Legates, receiving some victuals at our hands, they im- 
mediately departed. Moreover in the morning rising and 


proceeding on our journey, the chief of them which were 
in the guard met with us, demanding why, or for what 
intent and purpose we came thither ; and what business 
we had with them : unto whom we answered, We are 
the legates of our lord the Pope, who is the father and 
lord of the Christians. He hath sent us as well unto your 
emperor, as to your princes, and all other Tartars for this 
purpose, because it is his pleasure, that all Christians 
should be in league with the Tartars, and should have 
peace with them. It is his desire also that they should 
become great or in favour with God in heaven, therefore 
he admonisheth them as well by us, as by his own letters, 
to become Christians, and to embrace the faith of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, because they could not otherwise be 
saved. Moreover, he gives them to understand that he 
much marvelleth at their monstrous slaughters and 
massacres of mankind, and especially of Christians, 
but most of all of Hungarians, mountaineers, and 
Polonians, being all his subjects, having not injured them 
in aught, nor attempted to do them injury. And because 
the Lord God is grievously offended thereat, he adviseth 
them from henceforth to beware of such dealing, and to 
repent them of that which they had done. He requesteth 
also, that they would write an answer unto him, what they 
purpose to do hereafter, and what their intention is. All 
which things being heard and understood, the Tartars said 
that they would appoint us post horses and a guide unto 
Corrensa. And immediately demanding gifts at our hands 
they obtained them. Then receiving the same horses, 
from which they dismounted, together with a guide we 
took our journey into Corrensa. But they riding a swift 
pace, sent a messenger before unto the said Duke Corrensa, 
to signify the message which we had delivered unto them. 
This duke is governor of all them which lie in guard 
against the nations of the west, lest some enemy might 
on the sudden and at unawares break in upon them. 
And he is said to have 60,000 men under him. 



How they were received at the Court of Comma 

BEING come therefore unto his court, he caused our tent 
to be placed far from him, and sent his agents to demand 
of us with what we would incline upon him, that is to say, 
what gifts we would offer, in doing our obeisance unto 
him. Unto whom we answered, that our lord the Pope 
had not sent any gifts at all, because he was not certain 
that we should ever be able to come at them : for we 
passed through most dangerous places. Notwithstanding, 
to our ability, we will honour him with some part of those 
things, which have been, by the goodness of God, and the 
favour of the Pope, bestowed upon us for our sustenance. 
Having received our gifts, they conducted us unto the 
orda or tent of the duke, and we were instructed to bow 
thrice with our left knee before the door of the tent, and 
in any case to beware, lest we set our foot upon the 
threshold of the said door. And that after we were 
entered, we should rehearse before the duke and all his 
nobles, the same words, which we had before said, kneeling 
upon our knees. Then presented we the letters of our 
lord the Pope : but our interpreter whom we had hired 
and brought with us from Kiow was not sufficiently able 
to interpret them, neither was there any other esteemed to 
be meet for the same purpose. Here certain post horses 
and three Tartars were appointed for us to conduct us 
from hence with all speed unto Duke Bathy. This Bathy 
is the mightiest prince among them except the emperor, 
and they are bound to obey him before all other princes. 
We began our journey towards his court the first Tuesday 
in Lent, and riding as fast as our horses could trot (for we 
had fresh horses almost thrice or four times a day) we 
posted from morning till night, yea very often in the night 
season also, and yet could we not come at him before 
Maundy Thursday. All this journey we went through 


the land of Comania, which is all plain ground, and hath 
four mighty rivers running through it : the first is called 
Neper, on the side whereof towards Russia, Duke Corrensa 
and Montij marched up and down, which Montij on the 
other side upon the plains is greater than he. The second 
is called Don, upon the bank whereof marcheth a certain 
prince having in marriage the sister of Bathy, his name is 
Tirbon. The third is called Volga, which is an exceeding 
great river, upon the banks whereof Duke Bathy marcheth. 
The fourth is called lace, upon which two millenaries do 
march, on each side of the river one. All these, in the 
winter time, descend down to the sea, and in summer 
ascend back by the banks of the said rivers up to the 
mountains. The sea last named is the Great Sea, out of 
which the arm of S. George proceedeth, which runneth by 
Constantinople. These rivers do abound with plenty of 
fishes, but especially Volga, and they exonerate themselves 
into the Grecian Sea, which is called Mare Major. Over 
Neper we went many days upon the ice. Along the 
shore also of the Grecian Sea we went very dangerously 
upon the ice in sundry places, and that for many days 
together. For about the shore the waters are frozen three 
leagues into the sea. But before we came unto Bathy, 
two of our Tartars rode afore, to give him intelligence of 
all the sayings which we had uttered in the presence of 


How we were received at the Court of the great 
Prince Bathy 

MOREOVER, when we came unto Bathy in the land of 
Comania, we were seated a good league distant from his 
tabernacles. And when we should be conducted unto his 
court, it was told us that we must pass between two fires. 
But we would by no means be induced thereunto. How- 


belt, they said unto us ; you may pass through without all 
danger : for we would have you to do it for none other 
cause, but only that if you intend any mischief against 
our lord, or bring any poison with you, fire may take 
away all evil. Unto whom we answered, that to the end 
we might clear ourselves from all suspicion of any such 
matter, we were contented to pass through. When there- 
fore we were come unto the orda, being demanded by 
his agent Eldegay with what present or gift we would do 
our obeisance : we gave the same answer which we did 
at the court of Corrensa. The gifts being given and 
received, the causes of our journey also being heard, they 
brought us into the tabernacle of the prince, first bowing 
ourselves at the door, and being admonished, as before, 
not to tread upon the threshold. And being entered, we 
spake unto him kneeling upon our knees, and delivered 
him our letters, and ^requested him to have interpreters to 
translate them. Who accordingly on Good Friday were 
sent unto us, and we together with them, diligently trans- 
lated our said letters into the Russian, Tartarian, and 
Saracen languages. This interpretation was presented 
unto Bathy, which he read, and attentively noted. At 
length we were conducted home again unto our own 
lodging, howbeit no victuals were given unto us, except it 
were once a little millet in a dish, the first night of our 
coming. This Bathy carries himself very stately and 
magnificently, having porters and all officers after the 
manner of the emperor, and sits in a lofty seat or throne 
together with one of his wives. The rest, namely, as well 
his brethren and sons, as other great personages, sit 
underneath him in the midst upon a bench, and others sit 
down upon the ground, behind him, but the men on the 
right hand and the women on the left. He hath very 
fair and large tents of linen cloth also, which were once 
the king's of Hungaria. Neither dare any man come into 
his tent (besides them of his own family) unless he be 
called, be he never so mighty and great, except perhaps it 
be known that it is his pleasure. We also, for the same 
cause, sat on the left hand ; for so do all ambassadors in 


going : but in returning from the emperor, we were 
always placed on the right hand. In the midst stands his 
table, near unto the door of the tent, upon the which 
there is drink filled in golden and silver vessels. Neither 
doth Bathy at any time drink, nor any other of the 
Tartarian princes, especially being in a public place, but 
they have singing and minstrelsy before them. And 
always, when he rides, there is a canopy or small tent 
carried over his head upon the point of a javelin. And so 
do all the great princes of the Tartars, and their wives 
also. The said Bathy is courteous enough unto his own 
men, and yet is he had in great awe by them. He is 
most cruel in fight : he is exceedingly prudent and politic 
in war, because he hath now continued a long time in 
martial affairs. 


How departing from Bathy ', they passed through the Land 
of Comania and of the Kangittae 

MOREOVER, upon Easter eve we were called unto the tent, 
and there came forth to meet us the foresaid agent of 
Bathy, saying on his master's behalf, that we should go 
into their land, unto the Emperor Cuyne, detaining certain 
of our company with this pretence, that they would send 
them back unto the pope, to whom we gave letters of 
all our affairs to deliver unto him. But being come 
as far as Duke Montij aforesaid, there they were kept 
until our return. Upon Easter day, having said our 
prayers, and taken a slender breakfast, in the company 
of two Tartars which were assigned unto us by Corensa, 
we departed with many tears, not knowing whether we 
went to death or to life. And we were so feeble in 
body, that we were scarce able to ride. For all that Lent 
through, our meat was millet only with a little water and 
salt. And so likewise upon other fasting days. Neither 


had we aught to drink, but snow melted in a skillet. 
And passing through Comania we rode most earnestly, 
having change of horses five times or oftener in a day, 
except when we went through deserts, for then we were 
allowed better and stronger horses, which could undergo 
the whole labour. And thus far had we travelled from 
the beginning of Lent until eight days after Easter. The 
land of Comania on the north side immediately after 
Russia hath the people called Morduyni Byleri, that is 
Bulgaria magna, the Bastarci, that is, Hungaria magna, 
next unto the Bastarci, the Parositae and the Samogetae. 
Next unto the Samogetae are those people which are said 
to have dogs' faces, inhabiting upon the desert shores 
of the ocean. On the south side it hath the Alani, the 
Circassi, the Gazari, Greece and Constantinople ; also the 
land of Iberia, the Cathes, the Brutaches who are said 
to be Jews shaving their heads all over, the lands also 
of Scythia, of Georgia, of Armenia, of Turkey. On the 
west side it hath Hungaria and Russia. Also Comania is 
a most large and long country. The inhabitants whereof 
called Comani the Tartars slew, some notwithstanding fled 
from them, and the rest were subdued under their bondage. 
The most of them that fled are returned again. Afterward 
we entered the land of the Kangittae, which in many 
places hath great scarcity of waters, wherein there are but 
few inhabitants by reason of the foresaid defect of water. 
For this cause divers of the servants of Jeroslaus, Duke of 
Russia, as they were travelling towards him into the land 
of Tartaria, died for thirst in that desert. As before in 
Comania, so likewise in this country, we found many 
skulls and bones of dead men lying upon the earth like a 
dunghill. Through this country we were travelling from 
the eight day after Easter until Ascension day. The 
inhabitants thereof were pagans, and neither they nor the 
Comanians used to till the ground, but lived only upon 
cattle, neither built they any houses but dwelt in tents. 
These men also have the Tartars rooted out, and do 
possess and inhabit their country, howbeit, those that 
remained are reduced into their bondage, 



How they came unto the first Court of the new Emperor 

MOREOVER, out of the land of the Kangittae, we entered 
into the country of the Bisermini, who speak the language 
of Comania, but observe the law of the Saracens. In this 
country we found innumerable cities with castles ruined, 
and many towns left desolate. The lord of this country 
was called Soldan Alti, who with all his progeny was 
destroyed by the Tartars. This country hath most huge 
mountains. On the south side it hath Jerusalem and 
Baldach, and all the whole country of the Saracens. In 
the next territories adjoining do inhabit two carnal brothers, 
dukes of the Tartars, namely Burin and Cadan, the sons 
of Thyaday, who was the son of Chingis Can. On the 
north side thereof it hath the land of the black Kythayans, 
and the ocean. In the same country Sybon the brother of 
Bathy remaineth. Through this country we were travel- 
ling from the Feast of Ascension, until eight days before 
the Feast of Saint John Baptist. And then we entered 
into the land of the black Kythayans, in which the 
emperor built an house, where we were called in to drink. 
Also the emperor's deputy in that place caused the chief 
men of the city and his two sons to dance before us. 
Departing from hence, we found a certain small sea, upon 
the shore whereof stands a little mountain. In which 
mountain is reported to be a hole, from whence, in winter 
time such vehement tempests of winds do issue that 
travellers can scarcely and with great danger pass by the 
same way. In summer time, the noise indeed of the wind 
is heard there, but it proceedeth gently out of the hole. 
Along the shores of the foresaid sea we travelled for 
the space of many days, which although it be not very 
great, yet hath it many islands, and we passed by leaving 
it on our left hand. In this land dwelleth Ordu, whom 
we said to be ancient unto all the Tartarian dukes. And 


it is the orda or court of his father which he inhabiteth, 
and one of his wives beareth rule there. For it is a 
custom among the Tartars, that the courts of princes or of 
noble men are not dissolved, but always some women are 
appointed to keep and govern them, upon whom certain 
gifts are bestowed, in like sort as they are given unto 
their lords. And so at length we arrived at the first court 
of the emperor, wherein one of his wives dwelt. 


How they came unto Cuyne himself, who was forthwith to be 
chosen Emperor 

BUT because we had not as yet seen the emperor, they 
would not invite us nor admit us into his orda, but caused 
good attendance and entertainment, after the Tartars' 
fashion, to be given unto us in our own tent, and they 
caused us to stay there, and to refresh ourselves with them 
one day. Departing from thence upon the even of Saint 
Peter and Saint Paul, we entered into the land of Naymani, 
who are pagans. But upon the very feast day of the said 
apostles, there fell a mighty snow in that place, and we had 
extreme cold weather. This land is full of mountains, 
and cold beyond measure, and there is little plain ground 
to be seen. These two nations last mentioned used not to 
till their ground, but, like unto the Tartars, dwelt in tents, 
which the said Tartars had destroyed. Through this 
country we were travelling many days. Then entered we 
into the land of the Mongals, whom we call Tartars. 
Through the Tartars' land we continued our travel (as we 
suppose) for the space of some three weeks, riding always 
hastily and with speed, and upon the day of Mary 
Magdalene we arrived at the court of Cuyne the emperor 
elect. But therefore did we make great haste all this way, 
because our Tartarian guides were straitly commanded to 


bring us unto the court imperial with all speed, which 
court had been these many years, ordained for the election 
of the emperor. Wherefore rising early, we travelled 
until night without eating of anything, and oftentimes we 
came so late unto our lodging, that we had no time to eat 
the same night, but that which we should have eaten over 
night was given us in the morning. And often changing 
our horses, we spared no horse flesh, but rode swiftly and 
without intermission, as fast as our horses could trot. 


How Cuyne entertained the Minorite Friars 

BUT when we were come unto the court of Cuyne, he 
caused (after the Tartars' manner) a tent and all expenses 
necessary to be provided for us. And his people treated 
us with more regard and courtesy, than they did any 
other ambassadors. Howbeit we were not called before 
his presence, because he was not as yet elected, nor 
admitted unto his empire. Notwithstanding, the inter- 
pretation of the pope's letters, and the message which we 
delivered, were sent unto him by the foresaid Bathy. And 
having stayed there five or six days, he sent us unto his 
mother, under whom there was maintained a very solemn 
and royal court. And being come thither, we saw an 
huge tent of fine white cloth pitched, which was, to our 
judgement, of so great quantity that more than two 
thousand men might stand within it, and round about it 
there was a wall of planks set up, painted with divers 
images. We therefore with our Tartars assigned to 
attend upon us, took our journey thither, and there were 
all the dukes assembled, each one of them riding up and 
down with his train over the hills and dales. The first 
day they were all clad in white, but the second in scarlet 
robes. Then came Cuyne unto the said tent. Moreover, 


the third day they were all in blue robes, and the fourth 
in most rich robes of baldakin cloth. In the wall of 
boards, about the tent aforesaid, were two great gates, by 
one of the which gates, the emperor only was to enter, 
and at that gate there was no guard of men appointed to 
stand, although it stood continually open, because none 
durst go in or come out the same way : all that were 
admitted, entered by another gate, at which there stood 
watchmen, with bows, swords, and arrows. And whoso- 
ever approached unto the tent beyond the bounds and 
limit assigned, being caught, was beaten, but if he fled, he 
was shot at with arrows or iron. There were many that 
to our judgement, had upon their bridles, trappings, 
saddles, and such like furniture, to the value of twenty 
marks in pure gold. The foresaid dukes (as we think) 
communed together within the tent, and consulted about 
the election of their emperor. But all the residue of the 
people were placed far away without the walls of board, 
and in this manner they stayed almost till noon. Then 
began they to drink mares' milk, and so continued drink- 
ing till even tide, and that in so great quantity, as it was 
wonderful. And they called us in unto them, and gave 
us of their ale, because we could not drink their mares' 
milk. And this they did unto us in token of great 
honour. But they compelled us to drink so much, that in 
regard of our customary diet, we could by no means 
endure it. Whereupon, giving them to understand that 
it was hurtful unto us, they ceased to compel us any more. 
Without the door stood Duke Jeroslaus of Susdal, in 
Russia, and a great many dukes of the Kythayans, and of 
the Solangi. The two sons also of the King of Georgia, 
the ligier of the Caliph of Baldach, who was a soldan, and 
(as we think) above ten soldans of the Saracens beside. 
And, as it was told us by the agents, there were more 
than four thousand ambassadors, partly of such as paid 
tributes, and such as presented gifts, and other soldans, 
and dukes, which came to yield themselves, and such as 
the Tartars had sent for, and such as were governors of 
lands. All these were placed withouts the lists, and had 


drink given unto them. But almost continually they all 
of them gave us and Duke Jeroslaus the upper hand, 
when we were abroad in their company. 


How he was exalted to his Empire 

AND to our remembrance, we remained there, about the 
space of four weeks. The election was to our thinking 
there celebrated, but it was not published and proclaimed 
there. And it was greatly suspected so to be, because 
always when Cuyne came forth out of the tent, he had a 
noise of music, and was bowed unto, or honoured with 
fair wands, having purple wool upon the tops of them, 
and that, so long as he remained abroad, which service was 
performed to none of the other dukes. The foresaid tent 
or court is called by them Syra orda. Departing thence, 
we all with one accord rode three or four leagues unto 
another place, where, in a goodly plain by a river's side, 
between certain mountains, there was another tent erected, 
which was called the golden orda. For there was Cuyne 
to be placed in the throne imperial, upon the day of the 
Assumption of Our Lady. But, for the abundance of hail 
which fell at the same time, as is above said, the matter 
was deferred. There was also a tent erected upon pillars, 
which were covered with plates of gold, and were joined 
unto other timber with goklen nails. It was covered above 
with baldakin cloth, but there was other cloth spread over 
that, next unto the air. We abode there unto the feast of 
Saint Bartholomew, what time there was assembled an 
huge multitude standing with their faces towards the 
south. And a certain number of them being a stone's cast 
distant from the residue, making continual prayers, and 
kneeling upon their knees, proceeded farther and farther 
towards the south. Howbeit we, not knowing whether 


they used enchantments, or whether they bowed their 
knees to God or to some other, would not kneel upon the 
ground with them. And having done so a long time, 
they returned to the tent, and placed Cuyne in his throne 
imperial, and his dukes bowed their knees before him. 
Afterward the whole multitude knelt down in like manner, 
except ourselves, for we were none of his subjects. 


Of his Age and Demeanour, and of his Seal 

THIS emperor, when he was exalted unto his government, 
seemed to be about the age of forty or forty-five years. 
He was of a mean stature, very wise and politic, and 
passing serious and grave in all his demeanour. A rare 
thing it was, for a man to see him laugh or behave himself 
lightly, as those Christians report, which abode continually 
with him. Certain Christians of his family earnestly and 
strongly affirmed unto us, that he himself was about to 
become a Christian. A token and argument whereof was, 
that he received divers clergymen of the Christians. He 
had likewise at all times a chapel of Christians, near unto 
his great tent, where the clerks (like unto other Christians, 
and according to the custom of the Graecians) do sing 
publicly and openly, and ring bells at certain hours, be there 
never so great a multitude of Tartars, or of other people in 
presence. And yet none of their dukes do the like. It is 
the manner of the emperor never to talk his own self with 
a stranger, though he be never so great, but heareth and 
answereth by a speaker. And when any of his subjects 
(how great so ever they be) are in propounding any matter 
of importance unto him, or in hearing his answer, they 
continue kneeling upon their knees unto the end of their 
conference. Neither is it lawful for any man to speak of 
any affairs, after they have been determined of by the 


emperor. The said emperor, hath in his affairs both 
public and private, an agent, and secretary of estate, with 
scribes and all other officials, except advocates. For, 
without the noise of pleading, or sentence giving, all 
things are done according to the emperor's will and 
pleasure. Other Tartarian princes do the like in those 
things which belong unto them. But, be it known unto 
all men, that whilst we remained at the said emperor's 
court, which hath been ordained and kept for these many 
years, the said Cuyne being emperor new elect, together 
with all his princes, erected a flag of defiance against the 
Church of God, and the Roman empire, and against all 
Christian kingdoms and nations of the west, unless per- 
adventure (which God forbid) they will condescend unto 
those things, which he hath injoined unto our lord the 
Pope, and to all potentates and people of the Christians, 
namely, that they will become obedient -unto him. For, 
except Christendom, there is no land under heaven, which 
they stand in fear of, and for that cause they prepare them- 
selves to battle against us. This emperor's father, namely 
Occoday, was poisoned to death, which is the cause why 
they have for a short space abstained from war. But their 
intent and purpose is (as I have above said) to subdue the 
whole world unto themselves, as they were commanded by 
Chingis Can. Hence it is that the emperor in his letters 
writeth after this manner : The power of God, and emperor 
of all men. Also upon his seal, there is this posy engraved : 
God in heaven, and Cuyne Can upon earth, the power of 
God : the seal of the emperor of all men. 


Of the Admission of the Friars and Ambassadors unto 
the Emperor 

IN the same place where the emperor was established into 
his throne, we were summoned before him. And Chingay 


his chief secretary having written down our names, and 
the names of them that sent us, with the name of the 
Duke of Solangi, and of others, cried out with a loud 
voice, rehearsing the said names before the emperor, and 
the assembly of his dukes. Which being done, each one 
of us bowed his left knee four times, and they gave us 
warning not to touch the threshold. And after they had 
searched us most diligently for knives, and could not find 
any about us, we entered in at the door upon the east side ; 
because no man dare presume to enter at the west door, 
but the emperor only. In like manner, every Tartarian 
duke entereth on the west side into his tent. Howbeit 
the inferior sort do not greatly regard such ceremonies. 
This therefore was the first time, when we entered into 
the emperor 's tent in his presence, after he was created 
emperor. Likewise all other ambassadors were there 
received by him, but very few were admitted into 
his tent. And there were presented unto him such 
abundance of gifts by the said ambassadors, that they 
seemed to be infinite, namely in samites, robes of purple, 
and of baldakin cloth, silk girdles wrought with gold, and 
costly skins, with other gifts also. Likewise there was a 
certain sun canopy, or small tent (which was to be carried 
over the emperor's head), presented unto him, being set full 
of precious stones. And a governor of one province 
brought unto him a company of camels covered with 
baldakins. They had saddles also upon their backs, with 
certain other instruments, within the which were places for 
men to sit upon. Also they brought many horses and 
mules unto him furnished with trappings and caparisons, 
some being made of leather, and some of iron. And we 
were demanded whether we would bestow any gifts upon 
him or not : but we were not of ability so to do, having 
in a manner spent all our provision. There were also upon 
an hill standing a good distance from the tents, more than 
five hundred carts, which were all full of silver and of gold, 
and silk garments. And they were all divided between 
the emperor and his dukes, and every duke bestowed 
upon his own followers what pleased him. 



Of the Place where the Emperor and his Mother took their 
Leaves one of another, and of Jeroslaus, Duke of 

DEPARTING thence, we came unto another place, where a 
wonderful brave tent, all of red purple, given by the 
Kythayans, was pitched. We were admitted into that 
also, and always when we entered, there was given unto us 
ale and wine to drink, and sodden flesh (when we would) 
to eat. There was also a lofty stage built of boards, 
where the emperor's throne was placed, being very 
curiously wrought out of ivory, wherein also there was gold 
and precious stones, and (as we remember) there were 
certain degrees or stairs to ascend unto it. And it was 
round upon the top. There were benches placed about 
the said throne, whereon the ladies sat toward the left 
hand of the emperor upon stools (but none sat aloft on 
the right hand), and the dukes sat upon benches below, 
the said throne being in the midst. Certain others sat 
behind the dukes, and every day there resorted great 
company of ladies thither. The three tents whereof we 
spake before, were very large, but the emperor his wives 
had other great and fair tents made of white felt. This 
was the place where the emperor parted company with his 
mother : for she went into one part of the land, and the 
emperor into another to execute justice. For there was 
taken a certain concubine of this emperor, which had 
poisoned his father to death, at the same time when the 
Tartar's army was in Hungary, which, for the same cause 
returned home. Moreover, upon the foresaid concubine, 
and many other of her confederates sentence of judgment 
was pronounced, and they were put to death. At the 
same time Jeroslaus the great Duke of Soldal, which is a 
part of Russia, deceased. For being (as it were for 
honour's sake) invited to eat and drink with the emperor's 


mother, and immediately after the banquet, returning into 
his lodging, he fell sick, and v/ithin seven days, died. 
And after his death, his body was of a strange blue colour, 
and it was commonly reported, that the said duke was 
poisoned, to the end that the Tartars might freely and 
totally possess his dukedom. 


How the Friars coming at length unto the Emperor gave, 
and received Letters 

To be short, the Tartars brought us unto their emperor, 
who when he had heard of them, that we were come unto 
him, commanded that we should return, unto his mother. 
For he was determined the next day (as it is above said) 
to set up a flag of defiance against all the countries of the 
west, which he would have us in no case to know. 
Wherefore returning, we stayed some few days with his 
mother, and so returned back again unto him. With whom 
we continued for the space of one whole month in such 
extreme hunger and thirst, that we could scarce hold life 
and soul together. For the provision allowed us for 
four days, was scantly sufficient for one day. Neither 
could we buy us any sustenance, because the market was 
too far off. Howbeit, the Lord provided for us a Russian 
goldsmith, named Cosmas, who being greatly in the 
emperor's favour, procured us some sustenance. This 
man shewed unto us the throne of the emperor, which he 
had made, before it was set in the proper place, and his 
seal, which he also had framed. Afterward the emperor 
sent for us, giving us to understand by Chingay his chief 
secretary, that we should write down our messages and 
affairs, and should deliver them unto him. Which thing 
we performed accordingly. After many days he called for 
us again, demanding whether there were any with our 


lord the pope, which understood the Russian, the Saracen, 
or the Tartarian languages : to whom we answered, that 
we had none of those letters or languages. Howbeit, that 
there were certain Saracens in the land, but inhabiting a 
great distance from our lord the Pope. And we said, that 
we thought it most expedient, that when they had written 
their minds in the Tartarian language, and had interpreted 
the meaning thereof unto us, we should diligently translate 
it into our own tongue, and so deliver both the letter and 
the translation thereof unto our lord the Pope. Then 
departed they from us, and went unto the emperor. And 
after the day of S. Martin, we were called for again. 
Then Kadac, principal agent for the whole empire, and 
Chingay, and Bala, with divers other scribes, came unto 
us, and interpreted the letter word for word. And having 
written it in Latin, they caused us to interprete unto them 
each sentence, to wit if we had erred in any word. And 
when both letters were written, they made us to read 
them over twice more, lest we should have mistaken 
aught. For they said unto us : Take heed that ye under- 
stand all thing throughly, for if ye should not understand 
the whole matter aright, it might breed some incon- 
venience. They wrote the said letters also in the Saracen 
tongue, that there might be some found in our dominions 
which could read and interprete them, if need should 


How they were licensed to depart 

AND (as our Tartars told us) the emperor was purposed 
to send his ambassadors with us. Howbeit, he was desirous 
(as we thought) that we ourselves should crave that favour 
at his hands. And when one of our Tartars, being an 
ancient man, exhorted us to make the said petition, we 
thought it not good for us, that the emperor should send 


his ambassadors. Wherefore we gave him answer, that it 
was not for us to make any such petition, but if it pleased 
the emperor of his own accord to send them, we would 
diligently (by God's assistance) see them conducted in 
safety. Howbeit, we thought it expedient for us, that 
they should not go, and that for divers causes. First, 
because we feared, lest they, seeing the dissensions and 
wars which are among us, should be the more encouraged 
to make war against us. Secondly, we feared, that they 
would be instead of spies and intelligencers in our dominions. 
Thirdly, we misdoubted that they would be slain by the 
way. For our nations be arrogant and proud. For 
when as those servants (which at the request of the 
cardinal, attended upon us, namely the legates of Almaine) 
returned unto him in the Tartars' attire, they were almost 
stoned in the way, by the Dutch, and were compelled 
to put off those garments. And it is the Tartars' custom, 
never to be reconciled unto such as have slain their 
ambassadors, till they have revenged themselves. Fourthly, 
lest they should be taken from us by main force. Fifthly, 
because there could come no good by their ambassade, for 
they were to have none other commission, or authority, 
but only to deliver their emperor's letter unto the Pope, 
and to the Princes of Christendom, which very same letters 
we ourselves had, and we knew right well, that much harm 
might ensue thereof. Wherefore, the third day after 
this, namely, upon the Feast of Saint Brice, they gave 
us our pass-port and a letter sealed with the emperor's 
own seal, sending us unto the emperor's mother, who 
gave unto each of us a gown made of fox skins, with the 
fur on the outside, and a piece of purple. And our Tartars 
stole a yard out of every one of them. And out of that 
which was given unto our servant, they stole the better 
half, which false dealing of theirs, we knew well enough, 
but would make no words thereof. 



How they returned Homewards 

THEN taking our journey to return, we travelled all winter 
long, lying in the deserts oftentimes upon the snow, except 
with out feet we made a piece of ground bare to lie upon. 
For there were no trees, but the plain champion field. 
And oftentimes in the morning, we found ourselves all 
covered with snow driven over us by the wind. And so 
travelling till the feast of our Lord's Ascension, we arrived 
at the court of Bathy. Of whom when we had inquired, 
what answer he would send unto our lord the Pope, he 
said that he had nothing to give us in charge, but only that 
we would diligently deliver that which the emperor had 
written. And, having received letters for our safe con- 
duct, the thirteenth day after Pentecost, being Saturday, we 
were proceeded as far as Montij, with whom our foresaid 
associates and servants remained, which were withheld 
from us, and we caused them to be delivered unto us. 
From hence we travelled unto Corrensa, to whom, re- 
quiring gifts the second time at our hands, we gave none, 
because we had not wherewithal. And he appointed us 
two Comanians, which lived among the common people of 
the Tartars, to be our guides unto the city of Kiow in 
Russia. Howbeit, one of our Tartars parted not from us, 
till we were passed the utmost guard of the Tartars. 
But the other guides, namely the Comanians, which were 
given us by Corrensa, brought us from the last guard unto 
the city of Kiow, in the space of six days. And there we 
arrived fifteen days before the feast of Saint John Baptist. 
Moreover, the citizens of Kiow having intelligence of our 
approach, came forth all of them to meet us, with great 
joy. For they rejoiced over us, as over men that had 
been risen from death to life. So likewise they did unto 
us throughout all Russia, Polonia, and Bohemia. Daniel 
and his brother Wasilico made us a royal feast, and 


entertained us with them against our wills for the space of 
eight days. In the meantime, they with their bishops, and 
other men of account, being in consultation together about 
those matters which we had propounded unto them in our 
journey towards the Tartars, answered us with common 
consent, saying that they would hold the pope for their 
special lord and father, and the Church of Rome for their 
lady and mistress, confirming likewise all things which 
they had sent concerning this matter, before our coming, 
by their abbot. And for the same purpose, they sent 
their ambassadors and letters by us also, unto our lord the 


a Frenchman of the Order of the Minorite Friars, unto 
the East Parts of the World. An. Dom. 1253 

To his most sovereign, and most Christian Lord Lewis, 
by God's grace the renowned king of France, Friar William 
de Rubruk, the meanest of the Minorites' order, wisheth 
health and continual triumph in Christ. It is written in 
the book of Ecclesiasticus concerning the wise man : He 
shall travel into foreign countries, and good and evil shall 
he try in all things. The very same action (my lord and 
king) have I achieved : howbeit I wish that I have done it 
like a wise man, and not like a fool. For many there be, 
that perform the same action which a wise man doth, not 
wisely but more un discreetly : of which number I fear 
myself to be one. Notwithstanding howsoever I have 
done it, because you commanded me, when I departed 
from your highness, to write all things unto you, which I 
should see among the Tartars, and you wished me also 
that I should not fear to write long letters : I have done as 
your majesty enjoined me, yet with fear and reverence, 
because I want words and eloquence sufficient to write 
unto so great a majesty. Be it known therefore unto your 
sacred majesty, that in the year of our Lord 1253, about 
the nones of May, we entered into the sea of Pontus, 
which the Bulgarians call the Great Sea. It containeth in 
length (as I learned of certain merchants) 1008 miles, and 



is in a manner, divided into two parts. About the midst 
thereof are two provinces, one towards the north, and 
another towards the south. The south province is called 
Synopolis, and it is the castle and port of the Soldan of 
Turkey ; but the north province is called of the Latins, 
Gasaria : of the Greeks, which inhabit upon the sea shore 
thereof, it is called Cassaria, that is to say Caesaria. And 
there are certain headlands stretching forth into the sea 
towards Synopolis. Also there are three hundred miles 
of distance between Synopolis and Cassaria. Insomuch 
that the distance from those points or places to Con- 
stantinople, in length and breadth is about seven hundred 
miles : and seven hundred miles also from thence to 
the east, namely to the country of Hiberia which is 
a province of Georgia. At the province of Gasaria or 
Cassaria we arrived, which province is, in a manner, 
three square, having a city on the west part thereof 
called Kersova, wherein S. Clement suffered martyr- 
dom. And sailing before the said city, we saw an 
island, in which a church is said to be built by the hands 
of angels. But about the midst of the said province 
toward the south, as it were, upon a sharp angle or point, 
standeth a city called Soldaia, directly over against 
Synopolis. And there do all the Turkey merchants, 
which traffic into the north countries, in their journey 
outward, arrive, and as they return homeward also from 
Russia, and the said northern regions, into Turkey. The 
foresaid merchants transport thither ermines and gray furs, 
with other rich and costly skins. Others carry clothes 
made of cotton or bombast, and silk, and divers kinds of 
spices. But upon the east part of the said province 
standeth a city called Matriga, where the river Tanais 
dischargeth his streams into the sea of Pontus, the mouth 
whereof is twelve miles in breadth. For this river, before 
it entereth into the sea of Pontus, maketh a little sea, 
which hath in breadth and length seven hundred miles, 
and it is no place there of above six paces deep, whereupon 
great vessels cannot sail over it. Howbeit the merchants 
of Constantinople, arriving at the foresaid city of Materta, 


send their barques unto the river of Tanais to buy dried 
fishes, sturgeons, thosses, barbels, and an infinite number of 
other fishes. The foresaid province of Cassaria is com- 
passed in with the sea on three sides thereof: namely on 
the west side, where Kersova the city of Saint Clement is 
situate : on the south side the city of Soldaia whereat we 
arrived : on the east side Maricandis, and there stands the 
city of Matriga upon the mouth of the river Tanais. 
Beyond the said mouth standeth Zikia, which is not in 
subjection unto the Tartars : also the people called Suevi 
and Hiberi towards the east, who likewise are not under 
the Tartars' dominion. Moreover towards the south, 
standeth the city of Trapesunda, which hath a governour 
proper to itself, named Guido, being of the lineage of 
the emperors of Constantinople, and is subject unto the 
Tartars. Next unto that is Synopolis the city of the 
Soldan of Turkey, who likewise is in subjection unto 
them. Next unto these lieth the country of Vastacius, 
whose son is called Astar, of his grandfather by the 
mother's side, who is not in subjection. All the land from 
the mouth of Tanais westward as far as Danubius is 
under their subjection. Yea, beyond Danubius also, towards 
Constantinople, Valakia, which is the land of Assanus, and 
Bulgaria minor as far as Solonia, do all pay tribute unto 
them. And besides the tribute imposed, they have also of 
late years exacted of every household an axe, and all such 
corn as they found lying on heaps. 

We arrived therefore at Soldaia the twelfth of the kalends 
of June. And divers merchants of Constantinople, which 
were arrived there before us, reported that certain 
messengers were coming thither from the holy land, who 
were desirous to travel unto Sartach. Notwithstanding I 
myself had publicly given out upon Palm Sunday, within 
the Church of St. Sophia, that I was not your nor any other 
man's messenger, but that I travelled unto those infidels 
according to the rule of our order. And being arrived, the 
said merchants admonished me to take diligent heed what I 
spake : because they having reported me to be a messenger, 
if I should say the contrary, that I were no messenger, I 


could not have free passage granted unto me. Then I 
spake after this manner unto the governours of the city, or 
rather unto their lieutenants, because the governours them- 
selves were gone to pay tribute unto Baatu, and were not as 
yet returned. We heard of your lord Sartach (quoth I) 
in the holy land, that he was become a Christian : and the 
Christians were exceeding glad thereof, and especially the 
most Christian King of France, who is there now in 
pilgrimage, and fighteth against the Saracens to redeem the 
holy places out of their hands : wherefore I am determined 
to go unto Sartach, and to deliver unto him the letters 
of my lord the king, wherein he admonisheth him con- 
cerning the good and commodity of all Christendom. 
And they received us with gladness, and gave us entertain- 
ment in the cathedral church. The bishop of which church 
was with Sartach, who told me many good things concerning 
the said Sartach, which after I found to be nothing so. 

Then put they us to our choice, whether we would 
have carts and oxen, or packhorses to transport our 
carriages. And the merchants of Constantinople advised 
me, not to take carts of the citizens of Soldaia but to buy 
covered carts of mine own (such as the Russians carry 
their skins in), and to put all our carriages, which I would 
daily take out, into them : because, if I should use horses, 
I must be constrained at every bait to take down my 
carnages, and to lift them up again on sundry horses' 
backs : and besides, that I should ride a more gentle pace 
by the oxen drawing the carts. Wherefore contenting 
myself with their evil counsel, I was travelling unto Sartach 
two months which I could have done in one, if I had gone 
by horse. I brought with me from Constantinople (being 
by the merchants advised so to do) pleasant fruits, muscadel 
wine, and delicate biscuit bread to present unto the governours 
of Soldaia, to the end I might obtain free passage : because 
they look favourably upon no man which cometh with an 
empty hand. All of which things I bestowed in one of my 
carts (not finding the governours of the city at home), for 
they told me, if I could carry them to Sartach, that they 
would be most acceptable unto him. We took our journey 


therefore about the kalends of June, with four covered 
carts of our own, and with two other which we borrowed 
of them, wherein we carried our bedding to rest upon in 
the .night, and they allowed us five horses to ride upon. 
For there were just five persons in our company : namely, 
I myself and mine associate Friar Bartholomew of Cremona, 
and Goset the bearer of these presents, the man of God 
Turgemannus, and Nicolas, my servant, whom I bought at 
Constantinople with some part of the alms bestowed upon 
me. Moreover, they allowed us two men, which drove 
our carts and gave attendance unto our oxen and horses. 

There be high promontories on the sea shore from 
Kersova unto the mouth of Tanais. Also there are 
forty castles between Kersova and Soldaia, every one of 
which almost have their proper languages : amongst whom 
there were many Goths, who spake the Dutch tongue. 
Beyond the said mountains towards the north there is a 
most beautiful wood growing on a plain full of fountains 
and freshets. And beyond the wood there is a mighty 
plain champion, continuing five days' journey unto the very 
extremity and borders of the said province northward, and 
there it is a narrow isthmus or neck land, having sea on the 
east and west sides thereof, insomuch that there is a ditch 
made from one sea unto the other. In the same plain 
(before the Tartars sprang up) were the Comanians wont 
to inhabit, who compelled the foresaid cities and castles to 
pay tribute unto them. But when the Tartars came upon 
them, the multitude of the Comanians entered into the 
foresaid province, and fled all of them, even unto the sea 
shore, being in such extreme famine, that they which were 
alive, were constrained to eat up those which were dead ; 
and (as a merchant reported unto me who saw it with his 
own eyes) that the living men devoured and tore with their 
teeth the raw flesh of the dead, as dogs would gnaw upon 
carrion. Towards the border of the said province there be 
many great lakes : upon the banks whereof are salt pits or 
fountains, the water of which so soon as it entereth into 
the lake, becometh hard salt like unto ice. And out of 
those salt pits Baatu and Sartach have great revenues : for 


they repair thither out of all Russia for salt ; and for each 
cart-load they give two webs of cotton amounting to the 
value of half an yperpera. There come by sea also many 
ships for salt, which pay tribute every one of them accord- 
ing to their burden. The third day after we were departed 
out of the precincts of Soldaia, we found the Tartars. 
Amongst whom being entered, methought I was come into 
a new world. Whose life and manners I will describe unto 
your highness as well as I can. 


Of the Tartars, and of their Houses 

THEY have in no place any settled city to abide in, neither 
know they of the celestial city to come. They have 
divided all Scythia among themselves, which stretcheth from 
the river Danubius even unto the rising of the sun. And 
every of their captains, according to the great or small 
number of his people, knoweth the bound of his pastures, 
and where he ought to feed his cattle, winter and summer, 
spring and autumn. For in the winter they descend unto 
the warme regions southward. And in the summer they 
ascend unto the cold regions northward. In winter when 
snow lieth upon the ground, they feed their cattle upon 
pastures without water, because then they use snow instead 
of water. Their houses wherein they sleep, they ground 
upon a round foundation of wickers artificially wrought 
and compacted together : the roof whereof consisteth (in 
like sort) of wickers, meeting above into one little roundell, 
out of which roundell ascendeth a neck like unto a chimney, 
which they cover with white felt, and oftentimes they lay 
mortar or white earth upon the said felt, with the powder of 
bones, that it may shine white. And sometimes also they 
cover it with black felt. The said felt on the neck of their 
house, they do garnish over with beautiful variety of pictures. 


Before the door likewise they hang a felt curiously 
painted over. For they spend all their coloured felt in 
painting vines, trees, birds, and beasts thereupon. The 
said houses they make so large, that they contain thirty 
foot in breadth. For measuring once the breadth between 
the wheel-ruts of one of their carts, I found it to be twenty 
feet over : and when the house was upon the cart, it 
stretched over the wheels on each side five feet at the least. 
I told twenty-two oxen in one team, drawing an house 
upon a cart, eleven in one order according to the breadth 
of the cart, and eleven more before them : the axletree of 
the cart was of an huge bigness, like unto the mast of a ship. 
And a fellow stood in the door of the house, upon the 
forestall of the cart, driving forth the oxen. Moreover, 
they make certain foursquare baskets of small slender 
wickers as big as great chests : and afterward, from one 
side to another, they frame an hollow lid or cover of such 
like wickers, and make a door in the fore side thereof. 
And then they cover the said chest or little house with 
black felt rubbed over with tallow or sheep's milk to keep 
the rain from soaking through, which they deck likewise 
with painting or with feathers. And in such chests they 
put their whole household stuff and treasure. Also the 
same chests they do strongly bind upon other carts, which 
are drawn with camels, to the end they may wade through 
rivers. Neither do they at any time take down the said 
chests from off their carts. When they take down their 
dwelling houses, they turn the doors always to the south : 
and next of all they place the carts laden with their chests, 
here and there, within half a stone's cast of the house : 
insomuch that the house standeth between two ranks 
of carts, as it were, between two walls. The matrons 
make for themselves most beautiful carts, which I am not 
able to describe unto your majesty but by pictures only : 
for I would right willingly have painted all things for you, 
had my skill been aught in that art. One rich Moal or 
Tartar hath two hundred or one hundred such carts with 
chests. Duke Baatu hath sixteen wives, every one of which 
hath one great house, besides other little houses, which they 


place behind the great one, being as it were chambers for 
their maidens to dwell in. And unto every of the said 
houses do belong two hundred carts. When they take 
their houses from off the carts, the principal wife placeth 
her court on the west frontier, and so all the rest in their 
order : so that the last wife dwelleth upon the east frontier : 
and one of the said ladies' courts is distant from another 
about a stone's cast. Whereupon the court of one rich 
Moal or Tartar will appear like unto a great village, very 
few men abiding in the same. One woman will guide 
twenty or thirty carts at once, for their countries are very 
plain, and they bind the carts with camels or oxen, one 
behind another. And there sits a wench in the foremost 
cart driving the oxen, and all the residue follow on a like 
pace. When they chance to come at any bad passage, they 
let them loose, and guide them over one by one : for they 
go a slow pace, as fast as a lamb or an ox can walk. 


Of their Beds, and of their Drinking Pots 

HAVING taken down their houses from off their carts, and 
turning the doors southward, they place the bed of the 
master of the house, at the north part thereof. The 
women's place is always on the east side, namely on the 
left hand of the good man of the house, sitting upon his 
bed with his face southwards ; but the men's place is upon 
the west side, namely at the right hand of their master. 
Men when they enter into the house, will not in any case 
hang their quivers on the women's side. Over the 
master's head is always an image, like a puppet, made of 
felt, which they call the master's brother : and another 
over the head of the good wife or mistress, which they call 
her brother being fastened to the wall : and above between 
both of them, there is a little lean one, which is as it were 


the keeper of the whole house. The good wife or mistress 
of the house placeth aloft at her bed's feet, on the right 
hand, the skin of a kid stuffed with wool or some other 
matter, and near unto that a little image or puppet looking 
towards the maidens and women. Next unto the door 
also on the women's side, there is another image with a 
cow's udder, for the women that milk the kine. For it is 
the duty of their women to milk kine. On the other side 
of the door next unto the men, there is another image 
with the udder of a mare, for the men which milk mares. 
And when they come together to drink and make merry, 
they sprinkle part of their drink upon the image which is 
above the master's head : afterward upon other images in 
order : then goeth a servant out of the house with a cup 
full of drink sprinkling it thrice towards the south, and 
bowing his knee at every time : and this is done for the 
honour of the fire. Then performeth he the like super- 
stitious idolatry towards the east, for the honour of the 
air : and then to the west for the honour of the water : 
and lastly to the north in the behalf of the dead. When 
the master holdeth a cup in his hand to drink, before he 
tasteth thereof, he poureth his part upon the ground. If 
he drinketh sitting on horse-back, he poureth out part 
thereof upon the neck or mane of his horse before he 
himself drinketh. After the servant aforesaid hath so 
discharged his cups to the four quarters of the world, 
he returneth into the house : and two other servants 
stand ready with two cups, and two basins, to carry drink 
unto their master and his wife, sitting together upon a 
bed. And if he hath more wives than one, she with 
whom he slept the night before, sitteth by his side the 
day following : and all his other wives must that day 
resort unto the same house to drink : and there is the 
court holden for that day : the gifts also which are pre- 
sented that day are laid up in the chests of the said 
wife. And upon a bench stands a vessel of milk or of 
other drink and drinking cups. 



Of their Drinks, and how they provoke one another 
to Drinking 

IN winter time they make excellent drink of rice, of mill, 
and of honey, being well and highly coloured like wine. 
Also they have wine brought unto them from far countries. 
In summer time they care not for any drink but cosmos. 
And it standeth always within the entrance of his door, 
and next unto it stands a minstrel with his fiddle. I saw 
there no such citherns and viols as ours commonly be, 
but many other musical instruments which are not used 
among us. And when the master of the house begins 
to drink, one of his servants crieth out with a loud voice, 
Ha ! and the minstrel plays upon his fiddle. And when 
they make any great solemn feast, they all of them clap 
their hands and dance to the noise of music, the men 
before their master and the women before their mistress. 
And when the master hath drunk, then cries out his 
servant as before, and the minstrel stayeth his music. 
Then drink they all around both men and women: and 
sometimes they carouse for the victory very filthily and 
drunkenly. Also when they will provoke any man, they 
pull him by the ears to the drink, and so lug and draw 
him strongly to stretch out his throat, clapping their 
hands and dancing before him. Moreover when some 
of them will make great feasting and rejoicing, one of 
the company takes a full cup, and two other stand, one on 
his right hand and another on his left, and so they three 
come singing to the man who is to have the cup reached 
unto him, still singing and dancing before him : and when 
he stretcheth forth his hand to receive the cup, they leap 
suddenly back, returning again as they did before, and so 
having deluded him thrice or four times by drawing 
back the cup until he be merry, and hath gotten a good 
appetite, then they give him the cup, singing and 


dancing and stamping with their feet, until he hath done 


Of their Food and Victuals 

CONCERNING their food and victuals, be it known unto 
your highness that they do, without all difference or excep- 
tion, eat all their dead carrions. And amongst so many 
droves it cannot be, but some cattle must needs die. How- 
beit in summer, so long as their cosmos, that is, their mares' 
milk lasteth, they care not for any food. And if they 
chance to have an ox or an horse die, they dry the flesh 
thereof: for cutting it into thin slices and hanging it up 
against the sun and the wind, it is presently dried without 
salt, and also without stench or corruption. They make 
better puddings of their horses than of their hogs, which 
they eat being new made : the rest of the flesh they reserve 
until winter. They make of their ox skins great bladders 
or bags, which they do wonderfully dry in the smoke. Of 
the hinder part of their horse hides they make very 
fine sandals and pantofles. They give unto fifty or an 
hundred men the flesh of one ram to eat. For they mince 
it in a bowl with salt and water (other sauce they have 
none) and then with the point of a knife, or a little fork 
which they make for the same purpose (such as we use to 
take roasted pears or apples out of wine withall), they 
reach unto every one of the company a morsel or twain, 
according to the multitude of guests. The master of the 
house, before the ram's flesh be distributed, first of all 
himself taketh thereof, what he pleaseth. Also, if he 
giveth unto any of the company a special part, the receiver 
thereof must eat it alone, and must not impart ought 
thereof unto any other. Not being able to eat it up all, 
he carries it with him, or delivers it unto his boy, if he 
be present, to keep it : if not, he puts it up into his sap- 


targat, that is to say, his four-square budget, which they 
use to carry about with them for the saving of all such 
provision, and wherein they lay up their bones, when they 
have not time to gnaw them thoroughly, that they may 
burnish them afterward, to the end that no whit of their 
food may come to nought. 


How they make their Drink called Cosmos 

THEIR drink called cosmos, which is mares' milk, is 
prepared after this manner. They fasten a long line unto 
two posts standing firmly in the ground, and unto the 
same line they tie the young foals of those mares which 
they mean to milk. Then come the dams to stand by 
their foals, gently suffering themselves to be milked. 
And if any of them be too unruly, then one takes her foal 
and puts it under her, letting it suck a while, and presently 
carrying it away again, there comes another man to milk 
the said mare. And having gotten a good quantity of 
this milk together (being as sweet as cow's milk), while it 
is new they pour it into a great bladder or bag, and they 
beat the said bag with a piece of wood made for the 
purpose, having a club at the lower end like a man's head, 
which is hollow within : and so soon as they beat upon it, 
it begins to boil like new wine, and to be sour and sharp 
of taste, and they beat it in that manner 'till butter come 
thereof. Then taste they thereof, and being indifferently 
sharp they drink it : for it biteth a man's tongue like the 
wine of raspes, when it is drunk. After a man hath taken 
a draught thereof, it leaveth behind it a taste like the taste 
of almond milk, and goeth down very pleasantly, intoxi- 
cating weak brains : also it causeth wine to be avoided in 
great measure. Likewise caracosmos, that is to say black 
cosmos, for great lords to drink, they make on this 


manner. First they beat the said milk so long till the 
thickest part thereof descend right down to the bottom 
like the lees of white wine, and that which is thin and 
pure remaineth above, being like unto whey or white 
must. The said lees or dregs being very white, are given 
to servants, and will cause them to sleep exceedingly. 
That which is thin and clear their masters drink : and in 
very deed it is marvellous sweet and wholesome liquor. 
Duke Baatu hath thirty cottages or granges within a day's 
journey of his abiding place: every one of which serveth 
him daily with the caracosmos of an hundred mares' 
milk, and so all of them together every day with the milk 
of three thousand mares, besides white milk which other of 
his subjects bring. For even as the husbandmen of Syria 
bestow the third part of their fruits and carry it unto the 
courts of their lords, even so do they their mares' milk 
every third day. Out of their cows' milk they first churn 
butter, boiling the which butter unto a perfect decoction, 
they put it into rams' skins, which they reserve for the 
same purpose. Neither do they salt their butter : and yet 
by reason of the long seething it putrefieth not : and they 
keep it in store for winter. The churnmilk which re- 
maineth of the butter, they let alone till it be as sour as 
possibly it may be, then they boil it and in boiling, it is 
turned all into curds, which curds they dry in the sun, 
making them as hard as the dross of iron : and this kind 
of food also they store up in satchels against winter. In 
the winter season when milk faileth them, they put the 
foresaid curds (which they call gry-ut) into a bladder, and 
pouring hot water thereinto, they beat it lustily till they 
have resolved it into the said water, which is thereby made 
exceedingly sour, and that they drink instead of milk. 
They are very scrupulous, and take diligent heed that they 
drink not fair water by itself. 



Of the Beasts which they Eat, of their Garments, and of 
their Manner of Hunting 

GREAT lords have cottages or granges towards the south, 
from whence their tenants bring them millet and meal 
against winter. The poorer sort provide themselves of 
such necessaries, for the exchange of rams, and of other 
beasts' skins. The Tartars' slaves fill their bellies with 
thick water, and are therewithall contented. They will 
neither eat mice with long tails, nor any kind of mice with 
short tails. They have also certain little beasts called by 
them sogur, which lie in a cave twenty or thirty of them 
together, all the whole winter sleeping there for the space 
of six months : and these they take in great abundance. 
There are also a kind of conies having long tails like unto 
cats : and on the outside of their tails grow black and 
white hairs. They have many other small beasts good to 
eat, which they know and discern right well. I saw no 
deer there, and but a few hares, but a great number of 
roes. I saw wild asses in great abundance, which be like 
unto mules. Also I saw another kind of beast called 
artak, having in all resemblance the body of a ram, and 
crooked horns, which are of such bigness, that I could 
scarce lift up a pair of them with one hand ; and of these 
horns they make great drinking cups. They have falcons, 
gerfalcons, and other hawks in great plenty : all which they 
carry upon their right hands : and they put always about 
their falcons' necks a string of leather, which hangeth 
down to the midst of their gorges, by the which string, 
when they cast them off the fist at their game, with their 
left hand they bow down the heads and breasts of the said 
hawks, lest they should be tossed up and down, and beaten 
with the wind, or lest they should soar too high. Where- 
fore they get a great part of their victuals by hunting and 
hawking. Concerning their garments and attire be it 


known unto your majesty, that out of Cataya and other 
regions of the east, out of Persia also and other countries 
of the south, there are brought unto them stuffs of silk, 
cloth of gold, and cotton cloth, which they wear in time of 
summer. But out of Russia, Moxel, Bulgaria the greater, 
and Pascatir, that is Hungaria the greater, and out of 
Kersis (all which are northern regions and full of woods) 
and also out of many other countries of the north, which 
are subject unto them, the inhabitants bring them rich and 
costly skins of divers sorts (which I never saw in our 
countries) wherewithal they are clad in winter. And 
always against winter they make themselves two gowns, 
one with the fur inward to their skin, and another with 
the fur outward, to defend them from wind and snow, 
which for the most part are made of wolves' skins, or fox 
skins, or else of papions. And when they sit within the 
house, they have a finer gown to wear. The poorer sort 
make their upper gown of dogs' or of goats' skins. 
When they go to hunt for wild beasts, there meets a great 
company together, and environing the place round about, 
where they are sure to find some game, by little and little 
they approach on all sides, till they have gotten the wild 
beasts into the midst, as it were into a circle, and then 
they discharge their arrows at them. Also they make 
themselves breeches of skins. The rich Tartars some- 
times fur their gowns with pelluce or silk shag, which is 
exceeding soft, light and warm. The poorer sort do line 
their clothes with cotton cloth which is made of the finest 
wool they can pick out, and of the coarser part of the said 
wool, they make felt to cover their houses and their 
chests, and for their bedding also. Of the same wool, 
being mixed with one third part of horse hair, they make all 
their cordage. They make also of the said felt coverings 
for their stools, and caps to defend their heads from the 
weather : for all which purposes they spend a great 
quantity of their wool. And thus much concerning the 
attire of the men. 



Of the Fashion which the 'Tartars use in Cutting their 
Hair, and of the Attire of their Women 

THE men shave a plot four square upon the crowns of 
their heads, and from the two foremost corners they shave, 
as it were, two seams down to their temples : they shave 
also their temples and the hinder part of their head even 
unto the nape of the neck : likewise they shave the fore 
part of their scalp down to their foreheads, and upon their 
foreheads they leave a lock of hair reaching down unto 
their eyebrows : upon the two hindermost corners of their 
heads, they have two locks also, which they twine and 
braid into knots and so bind and knit them under each 
ear one. Moreover their women's garments differ not 
from their men's, saving that they are somewhat longer. 
But on the morrow after one of their women is married, 
she shaves her scalp from the midst of her head down 
to her forehead, and wears a wide garment like unto the 
hood of a nun, yea larger and longer in all parts than 
a nun's hood, being open before and girt unto them under 
the right side. For herein do the Tartars differ from the 
Turks, because the Turks fasten their garments to their 
bodies on the left side : but the Tartars always on the 
right side. They have also an ornament for their heads 
which they call botta, being made of the bark of a tree, or 
of some such other lighter matter as they can find, which by 
reason of the thickness and roundness thereof cannot 
be holden but in both hands together : and it hath a 
square sharp spire rising from the top thereof, being more 
than a cubit in length, and fashioned like unto a pinnacle. 
The said botta they cover all over with a piece of rich 
silk : and it is hollow within : and upon the midst of the 
said spire or square top, they put a bunch of quills or 
of slender canes a cubit long and more: and the said bunch, 
on the top thereof, they beautify with peacocks' feathers, 


and round about all the length thereof, with the feathers 
of a mallard's tail, and with precious stones also. Great 
ladies wear this kind of ornament upon their heads, binding 
it strongly with a certain hat or coif, which hath an 
hole in the crown, fit for the spire to come through it : 
and under the foresaid ornament they cover the hairs 
of their heads, which they gather up round together from 
the hinder part thereof to the crown, and so lap them 
up in a knot or bundle within the said botta, which after- 
ward they bind strongly under their throats. Hereupon 
when a great company of such gentlewomen ride together, 
and are beheld afar off, they seem to be soldiers with 
helmets on their heads carrying their lances upright : for 
the said botta appeareth like an helmet with a lance over it. 
All their women sit on horseback bestriding their horses 
like men : and they bind their hoods or gowns about their 
waists with a sky-coloured silk scarf, and with another 
scarf they gird it above their breasts : and they bind also a 
piece of white silk like a muffler or mask under their eyes, 
reaching down unto their breast. These gentlewomen 
are exceeding fat, and the lesser their noses be, the 
fairer are they esteemed : they daub over their sweet faces 
with grease too shamefully : and they never lie in bed 
for their travail of child-birth. 


Of the Duties enjoined unto the 'Tartarian Women, and of 
their Labours, and also of their Marriages 

THE duties of women are, to drive carts : to lay their 
houses upon carts and to take them down again : to milk 
kine : to make butter and gry-ut : to dress skins and to 
sew them, which they usually sew with thread made of 
sinews, for they divide sinews into slender threads, and 
then twine them into one long thread. They make sandals 


and socks and other garments. Howbeit they never wash 
any apparel : for they say that God is then angry, and that 
dreadful thunder will ensue, if washed garments be hanged 
forth to dry : yea, they beat such as wash, and take their 
garments from them. They are wonderfully afraid of 
thunder : for in the time of thunder they thrust all strangers 
out of their houses, and then wrapping themselves in black 
felt, they lie hidden therein, till the thunder be overpast. 
They never wash their dishes or bowls : yea, when their 
flesh is sodden, they wash the platter wherein it must be 
put, with scalding hot broth out of the pot, and then pour 
the said broth into the pot again. They make felt also, 
and cover their houses therewith. The duties of the men 
are to make bows and arrows, stirrups, bridles, and saddles : 
to build houses and carts, to keep horses : to milk mares : 
to churn cosmos and mares' milk, and to make bags 
wherein to put it : they keep camels also and lay burdens 
upon them. As for sheep and goats they tend and milk 
them, as well the men as the women. With sheep's milk 
thickened and salted they dress and tan their hides. When 
they will wash their hands or their heads, they fill their 
mouths full of water, and spouting it into their hands by 
little and little, they sprinkle their hair and wash their 
heads therewith. As touching marriages, your highness is 
to understand, that no man can have a wife among them 
till he hath bought her : whereupon sometimes their maids 
are very stale before they be married, for their parents 
always keep them 'till they can sell them. They keep the 
first and second degrees of consanguinity inviolable, as we 
do : but they have no regard of the degrees of affinity : 
for they will marry together, or by succession, two sisters. 
Their widows marry not at all, for this reason : because 
they believe that all who have served them in this life, shall 
do them service in the life to come also. Whereupon they 
are persuaded, that every widow after death shall return 
unto her own husband. And herehence ariseth an 
abominable and filthy custom among them, namely that 
the son marrieth sometimes all his father's wives except 
his own mother : for the court or house of the father or 


mother falleth by inheritance always to the younger son. 
Whereupon he is to provide for all his father's wives, 
because they are part of his inheritance as well as his 
father's possessions. And then if he will he useth them 
for his own wives : for he thinks it no injury or disparage- 
ment unto himself, although they return unto his father 
after death. Therefore when any man hath bargained 
with another for a maid, the father of the said damosel 
makes him a feast : in the mean while she fleeth unto some 
of her kinsfolk to hide herself. Then saith her father unto 
the bridegroom : Lo, my daughter is yours, take her where- 
soever you can find her. Then he and his friends seek for 
her till they can find her, and having found her he must 
take her by force and carry her, as it were, violently unto 
his own house. 


Of their Execution of Justice and 'Judgement : and of 
their Deaths and Burials 

CONCERNING their laws or their execution of justice, your 
majesty is to be advertised, that when two men fight, no 
third man dare intrude himself to part them. Yea, the 
father dare not help his own son. But he that goes by the 
worst must appeal unto the court of his lord. And who- 
soever else offereth him any violence after appeal, is put to 
death. But he must go presently without all delay : and 
he that hath suffered the injury, carrieth him, as it were 
captive. They punish no man with sentence of death, 
unless he be taken in the deed doing, or confesseth the 
same. But being accused by the multitude, they put him 
into extreme torture to make him confess the truth. They 
punish murder with death, and carnal copulation also with 
any other besides his own. By his own I mean his wife or 
his maid-servant, for he may use his slave as he listeth 
himself. Heinous theft also or felony they punish with 


death. For a light theft, as namely for stealing of a ram, 
the party (not being apprehended in the deed doing, but 
otherwise detected) is cruelly beaten. And if the execu- 
tioner lays on an hundred strokes, he must have an hundred 
staves, namely for such as are beaten upon sentence given 
in the court. Also counterfeit messengers, because they 
feign themselves to be messengers, whenas indeed they 
are none at all, they punish with death. Sacrilegious 
persons they use in like manner (of which kind of male- 
factors your majesty shall understand more fully hereafter) 
because they esteem such to be witches. When any man 
dieth, they lament and howl most pitifully for him : and 
the said mourners are free from paying any tribute for one 
whole year after. Also whosoever is present at the house 
where any one grown to man's estate lieth dead, he must 
not enter into the court of Mangu-Can till one whole 
year be expired. If it were a child deceased he must not 
enter into the said court till the next month after. Near 
unto the grave of the party deceased they always leave one 
cottage. If any of their nobles (being of the stock of 
Chingis, who was their first lord and father) deceaseth, his 
sepulchre is unknown. And always about those places 
where they inter their nobles, there is one house of men to 
keep the sepulchres. I could not learn that they use to 
hide treasures in the graves of their dead. The Comanians 
build a great tomb over their dead, and erect the image of 
the dead party thereupon, with his face towards the east, 
holding a drinking cup in his hand, before his navel. They 
erect also upon the monuments of rich men, pyramids, 
that is to say little sharp houses or pinnacles : and in some 
places I saw mighty towers made of brick, in other places 
pyramids made of stones, albeit there are no stones to be 
found thereabout. I saw one newly buried, in whose behalf 
they hanged up sixteen horse hides, unto each quarter of 
the world four, between certain high posts : and they set 
beside his grave cosmos for him to drink, and flesh to eat : 
and yet they said that he was baptized. I beheld other 
kinds of sepulchres also towards the east : namely large 
flowers or pavements made of stone, some round and some 


square, and then four long stones pitched upright, about 
the said pavement towards the four regions of the world. 
When any man is sick, he lieth in his bed, and causeth a 
sign to be set upon his house, to signify that there lieth 
a sick person there, to the end that no man may enter into 
the said house : whereupon none at all visit any sick party 
but his servant only. Moreover, when any one is sick in 
their great courts, they appoint watchmen to stand round 
about the said court, who will not suffer any person to 
enter within the precincts thereof. For they fear lest evil 
spirits or winds should come together with the parties that 
enter in. They esteem of soothsayers as of their priests. 


Of our first Entrance among the Tartars > and of 
their Ingratitude 

AND being come amongst those barbarous people, me- 
thought (as I said before) that I was entered into a new 
world : for they came flocking about us on horseback, 
after they had made us a long time to await for them, 
sitting in the shadow under their black carts. The first 
question which they demanded was whether we had ever 
been with them heretofore, or no ? And giving them 
answer that we had not, they began impudently to beg our 
victuals from us. And we gave them some of our biscuit 
and wine, which we had brought with us from the town of 
Soldaia. And having drunk off one flagon of our wine 
they demanded another, saying, that a man goeth not into 
the house with one foot. Howbeit we gave them no 
more, excusing ourselves that we had but a little. Then 
they asked us, whence we came, and whither we were 
bound ? I answered them with the words above-mentioned: 
that we had heard concerning Duke Sartach that he was 
become a Christian, and that unto him our determination 


was to travel, having your majesty's letters to deliver unto 
him. They were very inquisitive to know whether I came 
of mine own accord, or whether I were sent ? I answered 
that no man compelled me to come, neither had I come, 
unless I myself had been willing : and that therefore I was 
come according to mine own will, and to the will of my 
superior. I took diligent heed never to say that I was 
your majesty's ambassador. Then they asked what I had 
in my carts ; whether it were gold or silver, or rich gar- 
ments to carry unto Sartach ? I answered that Sartach should 
see what we had brought, when we were once come unto 
him, and that they had nothing to do to ask such questions, 
but rather ought to conduct me unto their captain, and 
that he, if he thought good, should cause me to be directed 
unto Sartach : if not, that I would return. For there was 
in the same province one of Baatu his kinsmen called 
Scacati, unto whom my lord the Emperor of Constanti- 
nople had written letters of request to suffer me to pass 
through his territory. With this answer of ours they 
were satisfied, giving us horses and oxen, and two men to 
conduct us. Howbeit before they would allow us the 
foresaid necessaries for our journey, they made us to await 
a long while, begging our bread for their young brats, 
wondering at all things which they saw about our servants, 
as their knives, gloves, purses, and points, and desiring to 
have them. I excused myself that we had a long way to 
travel, and that we must in no wise so soon deprive our- 
selves of things necessary to finish so long a journey. 
Then they said that I was a very varlet. True it is that 
they took nothing by force from me : howbeit they will 
beg that which they see very importunately and shame- 
lessly. And if a man bestow ought upon them, it is but 
cost lost, for they are thankless wretches. They esteem 
themselves lords and think that nothing should be denied 
them by any man. If a man gives them nought, and 
afterwards stands in need of their service, they will do 
right nought for him. They gave us of their cows' milk 
to drink after the butter was churned out of it, being 
very sour, which they call apram. And so we departed 


from them. And in very deed it seemed to me that we 
were escaped out of the hands of devils. On the morrow 
we were come unto the captain. From the time wherein 
we departed from Soldaia till we arrived at the court of 
Sartach, which was the space of two months, we never lay 
in house or tent, but always under the starry canopy, and 
in the open air, or under our carts. Neither yet saw we 
any village, nor any mention of building where a village 
had been, but the graves of the Comanians in great 
abundance. The same evening our guide which had con- 
ducted us gave us some cosmos. After I had drunk 
thereof I sweat most extremely for the novelty and 
strangeness, because I never dranke of it before. Not- 
withstanding methought it was very savoury, as indeed 
it was. 


Of the Court of Scacatai : and how the Christians drink no 


ON the morrow after we met with the carts of Scacatai 
laden with houses, and methought that a mighty city came 
to meet me. I wondered also at the great multitude of 
huge droves of oxen, and horses, and at the flocks of sheep. 
I could see but a few men that guided all these matters : 
whereupon I enquired how many men he had under him, 
and they told me that he had not above 500 in all, the 
one half of which number we were come past, as they lay 
in another lodging. Then the servant which was our 
guide told me, that I must present somewhat unto Scacatay: 
and so he caused us to stay, going himself before to 
give notice of our coming. By this time it was past 
three of the clock, and they unladed their houses near 
unto a certain water : and there came unto us his inter- 
preter, who being advertised by us that we were never 
there before, demanded some of our victuals, and we yielded 


unto his request. Also he required of us some garment 
for a reward, because he was to interpret our sayings unto 
his master. Howbeit we excused ourselves as well as we 
could. Then he asked us, what we would present unto 
his lord ? And we tooke a flagon of wine, and filled a 
maund with biscuit, and a platter with apples and other 
fruits. But he was not contented therewith, because we 
brought him not some rich garment. Notwithstanding we 
entered so into his presence with fear and bashfulness. He 
sat upon his bed holding a citron in his hand, and his wife 
sat by him : who (as I verily think) had cut and pared her 
nose between the eyes, that she might seem to be more flat 
and saddle-nosed : for she had left herself no nose at all in 
that place, having anointed the very same place with a 
black ointment, and her eyebrows also : which sight seemed 
most ugly in our eyes. Then I rehearsed unto him the 
same words, which I had spoken in other places before. 
For it stood us in hand to use one and the same speech in 
all places. For we were well forewarned of this circum- 
stance by some which had been amongst the Tartars, that 
we should never vary in our tale. Then I besought him, 
that he would vouchsafe to accept that small gift at our 
hands, excusing myself that I was a monk, and that it was 
against our profession to possess gold, or silver, or precious 
garments, and therefore that I had not any such thing to 
give him, howbeit he should receive some part of our 
victuals instead of a blessing. Hereupon he caused our 
present to be received, and immediately distributed the 
same among his men, who were met together for the same 
purpose, to drink and make merry. I delivered also unto 
him the Emperor of Constantinople his letters (this was 
eight days after the feast of Ascension), who sent them 
forthwith to Soldaia to have them interpreted there : for 
they were written in Greek, and he had none about him 
that was skilfull in the Greek tongue. He asked us also 
whether we would drink any cosmos, that is to say mares' 
milk ? (For those that are Christians among them, as 
namely the Russians, Grecians, and Alanians, who keep 
their own law very strictly, will in no case drink thereof, 


yea, they account themselves no Christians after they have 
once drunk of it, and their priests reconcile them unto the 
church as if they had renounced the Christian faith.) I 
gave him answer, that we had as yet sufficient of our own 
to drink, and that when our drink failed us, we must be 
constrained to drink such as should be given unto us. He 
enquired also what was contained in our letters, which your 
majesty sent unto Sartach ? I answered : that they were 
sealed up, and that there was nothing contained in them, 
but good and friendly words. And he asked what words 
we would deliver unto Sartach ? I answered : the words 
of Christian faith. He asked again what these words 
were ? For he was very desirous to hear them. Then I 
expounded unto him as well as I could, by mine inter- 
preter (who had no wit nor any utterance of speech), the 
Apostles' creed. Which after he had heard, holding his 
peace, he shook his head. Then he assigned unto us two 
men, who should give attendance upon ourselves, upon our 
horses, and upon our oxen. And he caused us to ride in 
his company, till the messenger whom he had sent for the 
interpretation of the emperor's letters, was returned. And 
so we travelled in his company till the morrow after 


How the Alanians came unto us on Pentecost or 
Whitsun Even 

UPON the even of Pentecost, there came unto us certain 
Alanians, who are called Acias, being Christians after the 
manner of the Grecians, using Greek books and Grecian 
priests : howbeit they are not schismatics as the Grecians 
are, but without exception of persons, they honour all 
Christians. And they brought unto us sodden flesh, 
requesting us to eat of their meat, and to pray for one of 
their company being dead. Then I said, because it was 


the eve of so great and so solemn a feast day, that we 
would not eat any flesh for that time. And I expounded 
unto them the solemnity of the said feast, whereat they 
greatly rejoiced : for they were ignorant of all things 
appertaining to Christian religion, except only the name of 
Christ. They and many other Christians, both Russians 
and Hungarians, demanded of us, whether they might be 
saved or no, because they were constrained to drink 
cosmos, and to eat the dead carcases of such things as 
were slain by the Saracens and other infidels ? Which 
even the Greek and Russian priests themselves also esteem 
as things strangled or offered unto idols : because they 
were ignorant of the times of fasting, neither could they 
have observed them albeit they had known them. Then 
instructed I them as well as I could and strengthened 
them in the faith. As for the flesh which they had 
brought we reserved it until the feast day. For there 
was nothing to be sold among the Tartars for gold and 
silver, but only for cloth and garments of the which kind 
of merchandise we had none at all. When our servants 
offered them any coin called yperpera, they rubbed it with 
their fingers, and put it unto their noses, to try by the 
smell whether it were copper or no. Neither did they 
allow us any food but cows' milk only, which was very 
sour and filthy. There was one thing most necessary 
greatly wanting unto us. For the water was so foul and 
muddy by reason of their horses, that it was not meet to 
be drunk. And but for certain biscuit, which was by the 
goodness of God remaining unto us, we had undoubtedly 


Of a Saracen which said that he would be baptised', 
and of certain Men which seemed to be Lepers 

UPON the day of Pentecost there came unto us a certain 
Saracen, unto whom, as he talked with us, we expounded 


the Christian faith. Who (hearing of God's benefits 
exhibited unto mankind by the incarnation of our Saviour 
Christ, and the resurrection of the dead, and the judge- 
ment to come, and that in baptism was a washing away of 
sins) said that he would be baptised. But when we 
prepared ourselves to the baptising of him, he suddenly 
mounted on horseback, saying that he would go home and 
consult with his wife what were best to be done. And on 
the morrow after he told us that he durst in no case 
receive baptism, because then he should drink no more 
cosmos. For the Christians of that place affirm that no 
true Christians ought to drink thereof : and that without 
the said liquor he could not live in that desert. From 
which opinion I could not for my life remove him. 
Wherefore be it known of a certainty unto your highness, 
that they are much estranged from the Christian faith by 
reason of that opinion, which hath been broached and 
confirmed among them by the Russians, of whom there is 
a great multitude in that place. The same day Scacatay 
the captain aforesaid gave us one man to conduct us to 
Sartach, and two other to guide us unto the next lodging, 
which was distant from that place five days' journey for 
oxen to travell. They gave unto us also a goat for 
victuals, and a great many bladders of cows' milk, and but 
a little cosmos, because it is of so great estimation among 
them. And so taking our journey directly toward the 
north, methought that we had passed through one of hell 
gates. The servants which conducted us began to play 
the bold thieves with us, seeing us take so little heed unto 
ourselves. At length having lost much by their thievery, 
harm taught us wisdom. And then we came unto the 
extremity of that province, which is fortified with a ditch 
from one sea unto another : without the bounds whereof 
their lodging was situate. Into the which, so soon as we 
had entered, all the inhabitants there seemed unto us to be 
infected with leprosy : for certain base fellows were placed 
there to receive tribute of all such as took salt out of the 
salt pits aforesaid. From that place they told us that we 
must travel fifteen days' journey, before we should find 


any other people. With them we drank cosmos, and 
gave unto them a basket full of fruits and of biscuit. And 
they gave unto us eight oxen and one goat, to sustain us 
in so great a journey, and I know not how many bladders 
of milk. And ">o changing our oxen, we took our journey 
which we finished in ten days, arriving at another lodging: 
neither found we any water all that way, but only in 
certain ditches made in the valleys, except two small rivers. 
And from the time wherein we departed out of the foresaid 
province of Gasaria, we travelled directly eastward, having 
a sea on the south side of us, and a waste desert on the 
north, which desert, in some places reacheth twenty days' 
journey in breadth, and there is neither tree, mountain, 
nor stone therein. And it is most excellent pasture. 
Here the Comanians, which were called Capthac, were 
wont to feed their cattle. Howbeit by the Dutchmen 
they are called Valani, and the province itself Valania. 
But Isidore calleth all that tract of land stretching from 
the river of Tanais to the lake of Maeotis, and so long as 
far as Danubius, the country of Alania. And the same 
land continueth in length from Danubius unto Tanais 
(which divideth Asia from Europe) for the space of two 
months' journey, albeit a man should ride post as fast as 
the Tartars use to ride : and it was all over inhabited by 
the Comanians, called Capthac : yea and beyond Tanais as 
far as the river of Edil or Volga : the space between the 
two which rivers is a great and long journey to be travelled 
in ten days. To the north of the same province lieth 
Russia, which is full of wood in all places, and stretcheth 
from Polonia and Hungaria, even to the river of Tanais : 
and it hath been wasted all over by the Tartars, and as yet 
is daily wasted by them. They prefer the Saracens before 
the Russians, because they are Christians, and when they 
are able to give them no more gold or silver, they drive 
them and their children like flocks of sheep into the 
wilderness, constraining them to keep their cattle there. 
Beyond Russia lieth the country of Prussia, which the 
Dutch knights of the order of Saint Mary's hospital of 
Jerusalem have of late wholly conquered and subdued. 


And in very deed they might easily win Russia, if they 
would put to their helping hand. For if the Tartars 
should but once know, that the great priest, that is to say 
the Pope, did cause the ensign of the cross to be displayed 
against them, they would flee all into their desert and 
solitary places. 


Of our Afflictions which we sustained : and of the Comanians J 
Manner of Burial 

WE therefore went on towards the east, seeing nothing 
but heaven and earth, and sometimes the sea on our right 
hand, called the sea of Tanais, and the sepulchres of the 
Comanians, which appeared unto us two leagues off, in 
which places they were wont to bury their kindred all 
together. So long as we were travelling through the 
desert it went reasonably well with us. For I cannot 
sufficiently express in words the irksome and tedious 
troubles which I sustained, when I came at any of their 
places of abode. For our guide would have us go in unto 
every captain with a present, and our expenses would not 
extend so far. For we were every day eight persons of 
us spending our wayfaring provision, for the Tartars' 
servants would all of them eat of our victuals. We 
ourselves were five in number, and the servants our guides 
were three, two to drive our carts, and one to conduct us 
unto Sartach. The flesh which they gave us was not 
sufficient for us : neither could we find anything to be 
bought for our money. And as we sat under our carts in 
the cool shadow, by reason of the extreme and vehement 
heat which was there at that time, they did so importu- 
nately and shamelessly intrude themselves into our company, 
that they would even tread upon us to see whatsoever 
things we had. Having list at any time to ease them- 
selves, the filthy lozels had not the manners to withdraw 


themselves farther from us than a bean can be cast. Yea, 
like vile slovens they would lay their tails in our presence 
while they were yet talking with us : many other things 
they committed which were most tedious and loathsome 
unto us. But above all things it grieved me to the very 
heart, that when I would utter ought unto them which 
might tend to their edification, my foolish interpreter 
would say : You shall not make me become a preacher 
now : I tell you I cannot, nor I will not, rehearse any such 
words. And true it was which he said, For I perceived 
afterward, when I began to have a little smattering in the 
language, that when I spake one thing he would say quite 
another, whatsoever came next unto his witless tongue's 
end. Then seeing the danger I might incur in speaking 
by such an interpreter, I resolved much rather to hold my 
peace, and thus we travelled with great toil from lodging 
to lodging, till at the length, a few days before the feast 
of Saint Mary Magdalene, we arrived at the bank of the 
mighty river Tanais which divideth Asia from Europe, 
even as the river Nilus of Egypt disjoineth Asia from 
Africa. At the same place where we arrived, Baatu and 
Sartach did cause a certain cottage to be built upon the 
eastern bank of the river, for a company of Russians to 
dwell in, to the end they might transport ambassadors and 
merchants in ferry boats over that part of the river. First 
they ferried us over, and then our carts, putting one wheel 
into one lighter and the other wheel into another lighter, 
having bound both the lighters together, and so they row 
them over. 

In this place our guide played the fool most extremely. 
For he, imagining that the said Russians, dwelling 
in the cottage, should have provided us horses, sent 
home the beasts which we brought with us, in another 
cart, that they might return unto their own masters. And 
when we demanded to have some beasts of them, they 
answered that they had a privilege from Baatu, whereby 
they were bound to none other service but only to ferry 
over goers and comers : and that they received great 
tribute of merchants in regard thereof. We stayed there- 


fore by the said river's side three days. The first day 
they gave unto us a great fresh turbot : the second day 
they bestowed rye bread and a little flesh upon us, which 
the purveyor of the village had taken up at every house 
for us : and the third day dried fishes, which they have 
there in great abundance. The said river was even as 
broad in that place as the river of the Seine is at Paris. 
And before we came there we passed over many goodly 
waters, and full of fish : howbeit the barbarous and 
rude Tartars know not how to take them : neither do 
they make any reckoning of any fish, except it be so great 
that they may prey upon the flesh thereof as upon the 
flesh of a ram. The river is the limit of the east part 
of Russia, and it springeth out of the fens of Maeotis, 
which fens stretch unto the North Ocean. And it runneth 
southward into a certain great sea 700 miles about before 
it falleth into the sea called Pontus Euxinus. And all the 
rivers which we passed over, ran with full stream into 
those quarters. The foresaid river hath great store of 
wood also growing upon the west side thereof. Beyond 
this place the Tartars ascend no farther unto the north : 
for at that season of the year, about the first of August, 
they begin to return back unto the south. And therefore 
there is another cottage somewhat lower, where passengers 
are ferried over in winter time. And in this place we were 
driven to great extremity, by reason that we could get 
neither horses nor oxen for any money. At length, after 
I had declared unto them that my coming was to labour for 
the common good of all Christians, they sent us oxen and 
men ; howbeit we ourselves were fain to travel on foot. At 
this time they were reaping their rye. Wheat prospereth 
not well in that soil. They have the seed of millium in 
great abundance. The Russian women attire their heads 
like unto our women. They embroider their safeguards or 
gowns on the outside, from their feet unto their knees, 
with particoloured or grey stuff. The Russian men wear 
caps like unto the Dutchmen. Also they wear upon their 
heads certain sharp and high-crowned hats made of felt, 
much like unto a sugar loaf 


Then travelled we three days together not finding any 
people. And when ourselves and our oxen were exceeding 
weary and faint, not knowing how far off we should find 
any Tartars, on the sudden there came two horses running 
towards us, which we took with great joy, and our guide 
and interpreter mounted upon their backs, to see how far 
off they could descry any people. At length upon the 
fourth day of our journey, having found some inhabitants, 
we rejoiced like seafaring men which had escaped out of a 
dangerous tempest, and had newly recovered the haven. 
Then having taken fresh horses and oxen, we passed on from 
lodging to lodging, till at the last, upon the second of the 
kalends of August, we arrived at the habitation of Duke 
Sartach himself. 


Of the Dominion of Sartach and of his Subjects 

THE region lying beyond Tanais is a very goodly country, 
having store of rivers and woods toward the north part 
thereof. There be mighty huge woods which two sorts of 
people do inhabit. One of them is called Moxel, being 
mere pagans and without law. They have neither towns 
nor cities, but only cottages in the woods. Their lord and 
a great part of themselves were put to the sword in high 
Germany. Whereupon they highly commend the brave 
courage of the Almans, hoping as yet to be delivered 
out of the bondage of the Tartars by their means. If any 
merchant come unto them, he must provide things neces- 
sary for him, with whom he is first of all entertained, 
all the time of his abode among them. If any lieth with 
another man's wife, her husband, unless he be an eye- 
witness thereof, regardeth it not : for they are not jealous 
over their wives. They have abundance of hogs, and 
great store of honey and wax, and divers sorts of rich 
and costly skins, and plenty of falcons. Next unto them 


are other people called Merclas, which the Latins call 
Merdui, and they are Saracens. Beyond them is the river 
of Etilia or Volga, which is the mightiest river that ever I 
saw. And it issueth from the north part of Bulgaria the 
greater, and so trending along southward, disimboqueth 
into a certain lake containing in circuit the space of 
four months' travel, whereof I will speak hereafter. The 
two foresaid rivers, namely Tanais and Etilia, otherwise 
called Volga, towards the northern regions through the 
which we travelled, are not distant asunder above ten days' 
journey, but southward they are divided a great space one 
from another. For Tanais descendeth into the sea of 
Pontus : Etilia maketh the foresaid sea or lake, with the 
help of many other rivers which fall thereinto out of Persia. 
And we had to the south of us huge high mountains, upon 
the sides whereof towards the said desert do the people 
called Cergis, and the Alani or Acas inhabit, who are as 
yet Christians and wage war against the Tartars. Beyond 
them, next unto the sea or lake of Etilia, there are certain 
Saracens called Lesgi, who are in subjection unto the Tartars. 
Beyond these is Porta Ferrea, or the iron gate, now called 
Derbent, which Alexander built to exclude the barbarous 
nations out of Persia. Concerning the situation whereof, 
your majesty shall understand more about the end of this 
treatise : for I travelled in my return by the very same 
place. Between the two foresaid rivers, in the regions 
through the which we passed did Comanians of old time 
inhabit, before they were overrun by the Tartars. 


Of the Court of Sartach, and of the Magnificence thereof 

AND we found Sartach lying within three days 7 journey of 
the river Etilia : whose court seemed unto us to be very 
great. For he himself had six wives, and his eldest son 


also had three wives : every one of which women hath a 
great house, and they have each one of them about two 
hundred carts. Our guide went unto a certain Nestorian 
named Coiat, who is a man of great authority in Sartach's 
court. He made us to go very far unto the lord's gate. 
For so they call him who hath the office of entertaining 
ambassadors. In the evening Coiac commanded us to 
come unto him. Then our guide began to enquire what 
we would present him withall, and was exceedingly offended 
when he saw that we had nothing ready to present. We 
stood before him, and he sat majestically, having music 
and dancing in his presence. Then I spake unto him in 
the words before recited, telling him for what purpose I 
was come unto his lord, and requesting so much favour at 
his hands as to bring our letters unto the sight of his lord. 
I excused myself also, that I was a monk, not having, nor 
receiving, nor using any gold or silver, or any other 
precious thing, save only our books and the vestments 
wherein we served God : and that this was the cause why 
I brought no present unto him nor unto his lord. For I 
that had abandoned mine own goods, could not be a trans- 
porter of things for other men. Then he answered very 
courteously, that being a monk and so doing, I did well : 
for so I should observe my vow: neither did himself stand 
in need of ought that we had, but rather was ready to 
bestow upon us such thing as we ourselves stood in need 
of: and he caused us to sit down, and to drink of his 
milk. And presently after he requested us to say our 
devotions for him : and we did so. He enquired also 
who was the greatest prince among the Franks? And I 
said the emperor, if he could enjoy his own dominions in 
quiet. No (quoth he) but the King of France. For he 
had heard of your highness by Lord Baldwin of Henault. 
I found there also one of the Knights of the Temple, who 
had been in Cyprus, and had made report of all things which 
he saw there. Then returned we unto our lodging. And on 
the morrow we sent him a flagon of muscadel wine (which 
had lasted very well in so long a journey) and a box full 
of biscuit, which was most acceptable unto him. And he 


kept our servants with him for that evening. The next 
morning he commanded me to come unto the court, and 
to bring the king's letters and my vestments and books 
with me ; because his lord was desirous to see them. 
Which we did accordingly, lading one cart with our books 
and vestments, and another with biscuit, wine and fruit. 
Then he caused all our books and vestments to be laid 
forth. And there stood round about us many Tartars, 
Christians and Saracens on horseback. At the sight 
whereof he demanded whether I would bestow all those 
things upon his lord or no ? Which saying made me to 
tremble, and grieved me full sore. Howbeit, dissembling 
our grief as well as we could, we shaped him this answer : 
Sir, our humble request is, that our lord your master 
would vouchsafe to accept our bread, wine, and fruits, not 
as a present, because it is too mean, but as a benediction, 
lest we should come with an empty hand before him. 
And he shall see the letters of my sovereign lord the 
king, and by them he shall understand for what cause we 
are come unto him, and then both ourselves and all that 
we have shall stand to his courtesy : for our vestments be 
holy, and it is unlawful for any but priests to touch them. 
Then he commanded us to invest ourselves in the said 
garments, that we might go before his lord : and we did 
so. Then I myself putting on our most precious orna- 
ments, took in mine arms a very fair cushion, and the 
Bible which your majesty gave me, and a most beautiful 
psalter, which the queen's grace bestowed upon me, 
wherein there were goodly pictures. Mine associate took 
a missal and a cross : and the clerk having put on his 
surplice, took a censer in his hand. And so we came 
unto the presence of his lord : and they lifted up the felt 
hanging before his door, that he might behold us. Then 
they caused the clerk and the interpreter thrice to bow the 
knee : but of us they required no such submission. And 
they diligently admonished us to take heed that in going 
in, and in coming out, we touched not the threshold of the 
house, and requested us to sing a benediction for him. 
Then we entered in, singing Salve Regina. And within 


the entrance of the door stood a bench with cosmos and 
drinking cups thereupon. And all his wives were there 
assembled. Also the Moals, or rich Tartars, thrusting in 
with us pressed us sore. Then Coiat carried unto his lord 
the censer with incense, which he beheld very diligently, 
holding it in his hand. Afterward he carried the psalter 
unto him, which he looked earnestly upon, and his wife 
also that sat beside him. After that he carried the Bible : 
then Sartach asked if the Gospel were contained therein ? 
Yea (said I) and all the holy scriptures besides. He took 
the cross also in his hand, and demanded concerning the 
image whether it were the image of Christ or no ? I said 
it was. The Nestorians and the Armenians do never 
make the figure of Christ upon their crosses. Wherefore 
either they seem not to think well of his passion, or else 
they are ashamed of it. Then he caused them that stood 
about us to stand aside, that he might more fully behold 
our ornaments. Afterward I delivered unto him your 
majesty's letters, with translation thereof into the Arabic 
and Syriac languages. For I caused them to be translated 
at Aeon into the character and dialect of both the said 
tongues. And there were certain Armenian priests which 
had skill in the Turkish and Arabian languages. The 
aforesaid knight also of the Order of the Temple had 
knowledge in the Syriac, Turkish, and Arabian tongues. 
Then we departed forth, and put off our vestments, and 
there came unto us certain scribes together with the fore- 
said Coiat, and caused our letters to be interpreted. 
Which letters being heard, he caused our bread, wine and 
fruits to be received. And he permitted us also to carry 
our vestments and books unto our own lodging. This 
was done upon the feast of St. Peter ad vincula. 



How they were given in charge to go unto Eaatu the Father of 


THE next morning betimes came unto us a certain priest 
who was brother unto Coiat, requesting to have our box of 
chrism, because Sartach (as he said) was desirous to see it : 
and so we gave it him. About eventide Coiat sent for us, 
saying : My lord your king wrote good words unto my 
lord and master Sartach. Howbeit there are certain 
matters of difficulty in them, concerning which he dare 
not determine aught, without the advice and counsel of 
his father. And therefore of necessity you must depart 
unto his father, leaving behind you the two carts, which 
you brought hither yesterday with vestments and books, 
in my custody : because my lord is desirous to take more 
diligent view thereof. I presently suspecting what mischief 
might ensue by his covetousness, said unto him ; Sir, we 
will not only leave those with you, but the two other carts 
also, which we have in our possession, will we commit unto 
your custody. You shall not (quoth he) leave those 
behind you, but for the other two carts first named we will 
satisfy your request. I said that this could not conveniently 
be done : but needs we must leave all with him. Then he 
asked whether we meant to tarry in the land ? I answered : 
If you thoroughly understand the letters of my lord the 
king, you know that we are even so determined. Then he 
replied, that we ought to be patient and lowly : and so we 
departed from him that evening. On the morrow after 
he sent a Nestorian priest for the carts; and we caused 
all the four carts to be delivered. Then came the foresaid 
brother of Coiat to meet us, and separated all those things 
which we had brought the day before unto the court, 
from the rest, namely the books and vestments, and took 
them away with him. Howbeit Coiat had commanded 
that we should carry those vestments with us which we 


wore in the presence of Sartach, that we might put them 
on before Baatu, if need should require : but the said 
priest took them from us by violence, saying : Thou 
hast brought them unto Sartach, and wouldst thou carry 
them unto Baatu? And when I would have rendered a 
reason he answered : Be not too talkative, but go your 
ways. Then I saw that there was no remedy but patience : 
for we could have no access unto Sartach himself, neither 
was there any other that would do us justice. I was 
afraid also in regard of the interpreter, lest he had spoken 
other things than I said unto him : for his will was good 
that we should have given away all that we had. There 
was yet one comfort remaining unto me : for when I once 
perceived their covetous intent, I conveyed from among 
our books the Bible, and the Sentences, and certain other 
books which I made special account of. Howbeit I durst 
not take away the psalter of my sovereign lady the queen, 
because it was too well known by reason of the golden 
pictures therein. And so we returned with the two other 
carts unto our lodging. Then came he that was appointed 
to be our guide unto the court of Baatu, willing us to take 
our journey in all post-haste : unto whom I said that I 
would in no case have the carts to go with me. Which 
thing he declared unto Coiat. Then Coiat commanded 
that we should leave them and our servant with him : 
and we did as he commanded. And so travelling directly 
eastward towards Baatu, the third day we came to Etilia or 
Volga: the streams whereof when I beheld, I wondered 
from what regions of the north such huge and mighty 
waters should descend. Before we were departed from 
Sartach, the foresaid Coiat, with many other scribes of the 
court said unto us : do not make report that our lord is a 
Christian, but a Moal. Because the name of a Christian 
seemeth unto them to be the name of some nation. So 
great is their pride, that albeit they believe perhaps some 
things concerning Christ, yet will they not be called 
Christians, being desirous that their own name, that is to 
say Moal, should be exalted above all other names. 
Neither will they be called by the name of Tartars. For 


the Tartars were another nation, as I was informed by 


How Sartach, and Mangu-Can> and Ken-Can do 
Reverence unto Christians 

AT the same time when the French-men took Antioch, 
a certain man named Con Can had dominion over the 
northern regions, lying thereabouts. Con is a proper 
name : Can is a name of authority or dignity, which 
signifieth a diviner or soothsayer. All diviners are called 
Can amongst them. Whereupon their princes are called 
Can, because that unto them belongeth the government of 
the people by divination. We do read also in the history 
of Antiochia, that the Turks sent for aid against the 
French-men unto the kingdom of Con Can. For out 
of those parts the whole nation of the Turks first came. 
The said Con was of the nation of Kara-Catay. Kara 
signifieth black, and Katay is the name of a country. 
So that Kara-Catay signifieth the black Catay. This name 
was given to make a difference between the foresaid people 
and the people of Catay, inhabiting eastward over against 
the ocean sea : concerning whom your majesty shall under- 
stand more hereafter. These Catayans dwelt upon certain 
Alps, by the which I travelled. And in a certain plain 
country within those Alps, there inhabited a Nestorian 
shepherd, being a mighty governor over the people called 
Yaymen, which were Christians, following the sect of 
Nestorius. After the death of Con Can, the said Nestorian 
exalted himself to the kingdom, and they called him King 
John, reporting ten times more of him than was true. For 
so the Nestorians which come out of those parts use to do. 
For they blaze abroad great rumours and reports upon just 
nothing. Whereupon they gave out concerning Sartach 
that he was become a Christian, and the like also they 


reported concerning Mangu Can and Ken Can : namely 
because these Tartars make more account of Christians 
than they do of other people, and yet in very deed them- 
selves are no Christians. So likewise there went forth 
a great report concerning the said King John. Howbeit, 
when I travelled along by his territories, there was no man 
that knew anything of him, but only a few Nestorians. In 
his pastures or territories dwelleth Ken Can, at whose 
court Friar Andrew was. And I myself passed by it at 
my return. This John had a brother, being a mighty 
man also, and a shepherd like himself, called Vut, and he 
inhabited beyond the Alps of Kara-Catay, being distant 
from his brother John the space of three weeks' journey. 
He was lord over a certain village called Cara Carum, 
having people also for his subjects named Crit or Merkit, 
who were Christians of the sect of Nestorius. But their 
lord, abandoning the worship of Christ, followed after 
idols, retaining with him priests of the said idols, who all 
of them are worshippers of devils and sorcerers. Beyond 
his pastures, some ten or fifteen days' journey, were the 
pasture of Moal, who were a poor and beggarly nation, 
without governor and without law, except their sooth- 
sayings and their divinations, unto the which detestable 
studies all in those parts do apply their minds. Near unto 
Moal were other poor people called Tartars. The fore- 
said King John died without issue male, and thereupon his 
brother Vut was greatly enriched, and caused himself to be 
named Can ; and his droves and flocks ranged even unto 
the borders of Moal. About the same time there was one 
Cyngis, a blacksmith among the people of Moal. This 
Cyngis stole as many cattle from Vut Can as he could 
possibly get : insomuch that the shepherds of Vut com- 
plained unto their lord. Then provided he an army, and 
marched up into the country of Moal to seek for the said 
Cyngis. But Cyngis fled among the Tartars, and hid 
himself amongst them. And Vut having taken some 
spoils both from Moal and also from the Tartars, returned 
home. Then spake Cyngis unto the Tartars and unto the 
people of Moal, saying : Sirs, because we are destitute of a 


governor and captain, you see how our neighbours do 
oppress us. And the Tartars and Moals appointed him 
to be their chieftain. Then having secretly gathered 
together an army, he brake in suddenly upon Vut and 
overcame him, and Vut fled into Cataya. At the same 
time was the daughter of Vut taken, which Cyngis married 
unto one of his sons, by whom she conceived and brought 
forth the great Can which now reigneth, called Mangu- 
Can. Then Cyngis sent the Tartars before him in all 
places where he came : and thereupon was their name 
published and spread abroad : for in all places the people 
would cry out : Lo, the Tartars come, the Tartars come. 
Howbeit, through continual wars they are now, all of them 
in a manner, consumed and brought to nought. Where- 
upon the Moals endeavour what they can to extinguish 
the name of the Tartars, that they may exalt their own 
name. The country wherein they first inhabited, and 
where the court of Cyngis Can as yet remaineth, is called 
Mancherule. But because Tartaria is the region about 
which they have obtained their conquests, they esteem that 
as their royal and chief city, and there for the most part do 
they elect their great Can. 


Of the Russians, Hungarians, and Alanians: and of the 
Caspian Sea 

Now, as concerneth Sartach, whether he believes in Christ 
or no I know not. This I am sure of, that he will not be 
called a Christian. Yea rather he seemeth unto me to 
deride and scoff at Christians. He lieth in the way of the 
Christians, as namely of the Russians, the Valachians, the 
Bulgarians of Bulgaria the lesser, the Soldaians, the Kerkis, 
and the Alanians : who all of them pass by him as they 
are going to the court of his father Baatu to carry gifts : 


whereupon he is more in league with them. Howbeit if the 
Saracens come, and bring greater gifts than they, they are 
dispatched sooner. He hath about him certain Nestorian 
priests, who pray upon their beads and sing their devotions. 
Also there is another under Baatu, called Berta, who 
feedeth his cattle toward Porta Ferrea or Derbent, where 
lieth the passage of all those Saracens which come out of 
Persia and out of Turkey to go unto Baatu, and passing 
by they give rewards unto him. And he professeth him- 
self to be a Saracen, and will not permit swine's flesh to be 
eaten in his dominions. Howbeit, at the time of our 
return Baatu commanded him to remove himself from that 
place, and to inhabit upon the east side of Volga : for he 
was unwilling that the Saracens' messengers should pass by 
the said Berta, because he saw it was not for his profit. 
For the space of four days while we remained in the 
court of Sartach, we had not any victuals at all allowed 
us, but once only a little cosmos. And in our journey 
between him and his father we travelled in great fear. 
For certain Russians, Hungarians, and Alanians being 
servants unto the Tartars (of whom they have great 
multitudes among them) assemble themselves twenty or 
thirty in a company, and so secretly in the night conveying 
themselves from home, they take bows and arrows with 
them, and whomsoever they find in the night season they 
put him to death, hiding themselves in the day time. 
And having tired their horses, they go in the night unto a 
company of other horses feeding in some pasture, and 
change them for new, taking with them also one or two 
horses besides, to eat them when they stand in need. Our 
guide therefore was sore afraid lest we should have met 
with such companions. In this journey we had died for 
famine, had we not carried some of our biscuit with us. 
At length we came unto the mighty river of Etilia or 
Volga. For it is four times greater than the river of 
Seine, and of a wonderful depth : and issuing forth of 
Bulgaria the greater, it runneth into a certain lake or sea, 
which of late they call the Hircan Sea, according to the 
name of a certain city in Persia, standing upon the shore 


thereof. Howbeit Isidore calleth it the Caspian Sea. For 
it hath the Caspian mountains and the land of Persia 
situate on the south side thereof: and the mountains of 
Musihet, that is to say of the people called Assassini, 
towards the east, which mountains are cojoined unto the 
Caspian mountains : but on the north side thereof lieth 
the same desert wherein the Tartars do now inhabit. 
Howbeit heretofore there dwelt certain people called 
Changlae. And on that side it receiveth the streams of 
Etilia ; which river increaseth in summer time, like unto 
the river Nilus in Egypt. Upon the west part thereof it 
hath the mountains of Alani, and Lesgi, and Porta Ferrea, 
or Derbent, and the mountains of Georgia. This sea 
therefore is compassed in on three sides with the moun- 
tains, but on the north side by plain ground. Friar 
Andrew in his journey travelled round about two sides 
thereof, namely, the south and the east sides : and I 
myself about other two, that is to say the north side in 
going from Baatu to Mangu-Can, and in returning like- 
wise : and the west side in coming home from Baatu into 
Syria. A man may travel round about it in four months. 
And it is not true what Isidore reporteth, namely that this 
sea is a bay or gulf coming forth of the ocean : for it 
doth in no part thereof join with the ocean, but is environed 
on all sides with land. 


Of the Court of Baatu ; and how we were entertained by him 

ALL the region extending from the west shore of the fore- 
said sea, where Alexander's iron gate, otherwise called the 
city of Derbent, is situate, and from the mountains of 
Alaria, all along by the fens of Meotis, whereinto the 
river of Tanais falleth, and so forth, to the North Ocean, 
was wont to be called Albania. Of which country Isidore 
reporteth, that there be dogs of such an huge stature, and 


so fierce, that they are able in fight to match bulls, and to 
master lions. Which is true, as I understand by divers, 
who told me, that there towards the North Ocean they 
make their dogs to draw in carts like oxen, by reason of 
their bigness and strength. Moreover, upon that part of 
Etilia where we arrived, there is a new cottage built, 
wherein they have placed Tartars and Russians both 
together, to ferry over, and transport messengers going 
and coming to and fro the court of Baatu. For Baatu 
remaineth upon the farther side towards the east. Neither 
ascendeth he in summer time more northward than the 
foresaid place where we arrived, but was even then de- 
scending to the south. From January until August both 
he and all other Tartars ascend by the banks of rivers 
towards cold and northerly regions, and in August they 
begin to return back again. We passed down the stream 
therefore in a barque, from the foresaid cottage unto his court. 
From the same place unto the villages of Bulgaria the 
greater, standing toward the north, it is five days' journey. 
I wonder what devil carried the religion of Mahomet 
thither. For, from Derbent, which is upon the extreme 
borders of Persia, it is about thirty days' journey to 
pass overthwart the desert, and so to ascend by the 
bank of Etilia, into the foresaid country of Bulgaria. All 
which way there is no city, but only certain cottages near 
unto that place where Etilia falleth into the sea. Those 
Bulgarians are most wicked Saracens, more earnestly pro- 
fessing the damnable religion of Mahomet, than any other 
nation whatsoever. Moreover, when I first beheld the 
court of Baatu, I was astonished at the sight there of : for 
his houses or tents seemed as though they had been some 
huge and mighty city, stretching out a great way in length, 
the people ranging up and down about it for the space of 
some three or four leagues. And even as the people of 
Israel knew every man, on which side of the tabernacle to 
pitch his tent : even so every one of them knoweth right 
well, towards which side of the court he ought to place his 
house when he takes it from off the cart. Whereupon 
the court is called in their language Horda, which signi- 


fieth, the midst : because the governor or chieftain among 
them dwells always in the midst of his people : except 
only that towards the south no subject or inferior person 
placeth himself, because towards that region the court 
gates are set open : but unto the right hand, and the left 
hand they extend themselves as far as they will, according 
to the conveniency of places, so that they place not their 
houses directly opposite against the court. At our arrival 
we were conducted unto a Saracen, who provided not 
for us any victuals at all. The day following, we were 
brought unto the court : and Baatu had caused a great 
tent to be erected, because his house or ordinary tent 
could not contain so many men and women as were 
assembled. Our guide admonished us not to speak, till 
Baatu had given us commandment so to do, and that then 
we should speak our minds briefly. Then Baatu demanded 
whether your majesty had sent ambassadors unto him or 
not ; I answered, that your majesty had sent messengers to 
Ken-Can : and that you would not have sent messengers 
unto him, or letters unto Sartach, had not your highness 
been persuaded that they were become Christians : because 
you sent not unto them for any fear, but only for con- 
gratulation, and courtesy's sake, in regard that you heard 
they were converted to Christianity. Then led he us unto 
his pavilion : and we were charged not to touch the cords 
of the tent, which they account in stead of the threshold of 
the house. There we stood in our habit bare-footed, and 
bare-headed, and were a great and strange spectacle in 
their eyes. For indeed Friar John de Piano Carpini had 
been there before my coming : howbeit, because he was 
the pope's messenger, he changed his habit that he might 
not be condemned. Then we were brought into the very 
midst of the tent, neither required they of us to do any 
reverence by bowing our knees, as they use to do of other 
messengers. We stood therefore before him for the space 
wherein a man might have rehearsed the psalm, Miserere 
mei Deus : and there was great silence kept of all men. 
Baatu himself sat upon a seat long and broad like unto 
a bed, gilt all over, with three stairs to ascend thereunto, 



and one of his ladies sat beside him. The men there 
assembled, sat down scattering, some on the right hand of 
the said lady, and some on the left. Those places on the 
one side which the women filled not up (for there were 
only the wives of Baatu) were supplied by the men. Also, 
at the very entrance of the tent, stood a bench furnished 
with cosmos, and with stately great cups of silver, and 
gold, being richly set with precious stones. Baatu beheld 
us earnestly, and we him : and he seemed to me to re- 
semble in personage, Monsieur John de Beaumont, whose 
soul resteth in peace. And he had a fresh ruddy colour in 
his countenance. At length he commanded us to speak. 

Then our guide gave us direction, that we should bow our 
knees and speak. Whereupon I bowed one knee as unto 
a man : then he signified that I should kneel upon both 
knees : and I did so, being loath to contend about such 
circumstances. And again he commanded me to speak. 
Then I thinking of prayer unto God, because I kneeled on 
both my knees, began to pray on this wise : Sir, we beseech 
the Lord, from whom all good things do proceed, and who 
hath given you these earthly benefits, that it would please 
him hereafter to make you partaker of his heavenly bless- 
ings : because the former without these are but vain and 
unprofitable. And I added further, Be it known unto you 
of a certainty, that you shall not obtain the joys of heaven, 
unless you become a Christian : for God saith, Whosoever 
believeth and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that 
believeth not, shall be condemned. At this word he 
modestly smiled ; but the other Moals began to clap their 
hands, and to deride us. And my silly interpreter, of 
whom especially I should have received comfort in time of 
need, was himself abashed and utterly dashed out of coun- 
tenance. Then after silence made, I said unto him, I came 
unto your son, because we heard that he was become a 
Christian : and I brought unto him letters on the behalf of 
my sovereign lord the King of France : and your son sent 
me hither unto you. The cause of my coming therefore is 
best known unto yourself. Then he caused me to rise up, 
and he inquired your majesty's name, and rny name, and 


the name of my associate and interpreter, and caused them 
all to be put down in writing. He demanded likewise 
(because he had been informed, that you were departed 
out of your own country with an army) against whom you 
waged war. I answered : Against the Saracens, who had 
defiled the house of God at Jerusalem. He asked also, 
whether your highness had ever before that time sent any 
messengers unto him, or not. To you sir ? (said I). Never. 
Then caused he us to sit down, and gave us of his milk to 
drink, which they account to be a great favour, especially 
when any man is admitted to drink cosmos with him in his 
own house. And as I sat looking down upon the ground, 
he commanded me to lift up my countenance, being 
desirous as yet to take more diligent view of us, or else 
perhaps for a kind of superstitious observation. For they 
esteem it a sign of ill luck, or a prognostication of evil unto 
them, when any man sits in their presence, holding down 
his head, as if he were sad : especially when he leans his 
cheek or chin upon his hand. Then we departed forth, 
and immediately after came our guide unto us, and con- 
ducting us unto our lodging, said unto me : Your master 
the king requesteth that you may remain in this land, 
which request Baatu cannot satisfy without the knowledge 
and consent of Mangu-Can. Wherefore you, and your 
interpreter must of necessity go unto Mangu-Can. How- 
beit your associate, and the other man shall return unto 
the court of Sartach, staying there for you, till you come 
back. Then began the man of God mine interpreter to 
lament, esteeming himself but a dead man. Mine associate 
also protested, that they should sooner chop off his head, 
than withdraw him out of my company. Moreover I 
myself said, that without mine associate I could not go ; 
and that we stood in need of two servants at the least, to 
attend upon us, because, if one should chance to fall sick, 
we could not be without another. Then returning unto 
the court, he told these sayings unto Baatu. And Baatu 
commanded saying : Let the two priests and the interpreter 
go together, but let the clerk return unto Sartach. And 
coming again unto us, he told us even so. And when I 


would have spoken for the clerk to have had him with us, 
he said : No more words, for Baatu hath resolved, that so 
it shall be, and therefore I dare not go unto the court any 
more. Goset the clerk had remaining of the alms money 
bestowed unto him, twenty-six yperperas, and no more : 
ten whereof he kept for himself and for the lad, and 
sixteen he gave unto the man of God for us. And thus 
were we parted asunder with tears : he returning unto the 
court of Sartach, and ourselves remaining still in the same 


Of our Journey towards the Court of Mangu-Can 

UPON Assumption even our clerk arrived at the court of 
Sartach. And on the morrow after, the Nestorian priests 
were adorned with our vestments in the presence of the 
said Sartach. Then we ourselves were conducted unto 
another host, who was appointed to provide us houseroom, 
victuals, and horses. But because we had not aught to 
bestow upon him, he did all things unto war dly for us. 
Then we rode on forward with Baatu, descending along 
by the bank of Etilia, for the space of five weeks together : 
sometimes mine associate was so extremely hungry, that he 
would tell me in a manner weeping, that it fared with him 
as though he had never eaten any thing in all his life 
before. There is a fair or market following the court of 
Baatu at all times ; but it was so far distant from us that 
we could not have recourse thereunto. For we were con- 
strained to walk on foot for want of horses. At length 
certain Hungarians (who had some time been after a sort 
clergymen) found us out : and one of them could as yet 
sing many songs without book, and was accounted of other 
Hungarians as a priest, and was sent for unto the funerals 
of his deceased country men. There was another of them 
also prettily well instructed in his grammar: for he could 


understand the meaning of anything that we spake, but 
could not answer us. These Hungarians were a great 
comfort unto us, bringing us cosmos to drink, yea, and 
sometimes flesh for to eat also : who, when they requested 
to have some books of us, and I had not any to give them 
(for indeed we had none, but only a Bible, and a breviary) 
it grieved me exceedingly. And I said unto them : Bring 
me some ink and paper, and I will write for you so long as 
we shall remain here ; and they did so. And I copied out 
for them Horas beatae Virginis, and Officium defunctorum. 
Moreover, upon a certain day, there was a Comanian that 
accompanied us, saluting us in Latin, and saying : Saluite 
Domini. Wondering thereat, and saluting him again, I 
demanded of him, who had taught him that kind of 
salutation. He said that he was baptized in Hungaria by 
our friars, and that of them he had learned it. He said, 
moreover, that Baatu had inquired many things of him 
concerning us, and that he told him the estate of our 
order. Afterward I saw Baatu riding with his company, 
and all his subjects that were householders or masters of 
families riding with him, and (in my estimation) they were 
not five hundred persons in all. 

At length about the end of Holy rood, there came a certain 
rich Moal unto us (whose father was a millenary, which is 
a great office among them) saying : I am the man that must 
conduct you unto Mangu-Can, and we have thither a 
journey of four months long to travel ; and there is such 
extreme cold in those parts, that stones and trees do even 
rive asunder in regard thereof. Therefore I would wish 
you throughly to advise yourselves, whether you be able to 
endure it or no. Unto whom I answered : I hope by 
God's help that we shall be able to brook that which other 
men can endure. Then he said : If you cannot endure it, 
I will forsake you by the way. And I answered him : It 
were not just dealing for you so to do : for we go not 
thither upon any business of our own, but by reason that 
we are sent by your lord. Wherefore since we are com- 
mitted unto your charge, you ought in no wise to forsake 
us. Then he said : All shall be well. Afterward he 


caused us to show him all our garments : and whatsoever 
he deemed to be less needful for us, he willed us to leave 
it behind in the custody of our host. On the morrow 
they brought unto each of us a furred gown, made all of 
ram's skins, with the wool still upon them, and breeches 
of the same, and boots also of buskins according to their 
fashion, and shoes made of felt, and hoods also made of 
skins after their manner. The second day after Holy 
rood, we began to set forward on our journey, having 
three guides to direct us : and we rode continually east- 
ward, till the feast of All Saints. Throughout all that 
region, and beyond also did the people of Changle inhabit, 
who were by parentage descended from the Romans. 
Upon the north side of us, we had Bulgaria the greater, 
and on the south, the foresaid Caspian Sea. 


Of the River of Jagac: and of divers Regions or Nations 

HAVING travelled twelve days* journey from Etilia, we 
found a mighty river called Jagac : which river issuing out 
of the north, from the land of Pascatir, descendeth into 
the foresaid sea. The language of Pascatir, and of the 
Hungarians is all one, and they are all of them shepherds, 
not having any cities. And their country bordereth upon 
Bulgaria the greater, on the west frontier thereof. From 
the north-east part of the said country, there is no city at 
all. For Bulgaria the greater is the farthest country that 
way, that hath any city therein. Out of the forenamed 
region of Pascatir, proceeded the Hunnes o old time, who 
afterward were called Hungarians. Next unto it is Bulgaria 
the greater. Isidore reporteth concerning the people of 
this nation, that with swift horses they traversed the im- 
pregnable walls and bounds of Alexander (which, together 
with the rocks of Caucasus, served to restrain those barbarous 


and blood-thirsty people from invading the regions of the 
south), insomuch that they had tribute paid unto them, as 
far as Egypt. Likewise they wasted all countries even 
unto France. Whereupon they were more mighty than 
the Tartars as yet are. And unto them the Blacians, the 
Bulgarians, and the Vandals joined themselves. For out of 
Bulgaria the greater, came those Bulgarians. Moreover, 
they which inhabit beyond Danubius, near unto Constanti- 
nople, and not far from Pascatir, are called Ilac, which 
(saving the pronunciation) is all one with Blac (for the 
Tartars cannot pronounce the letter B), from whom also 
descended the people which inhabit the land of Assani. For 
they are both of them called Ilac (both these, and the other) 
in the languages of the Russians, the Polonians, and the 
Bohemians. The Sclavonians speak all one language with 
the Vandals, all which banded themselves with the Hunnes: 
and now for the most part, they unite themselves unto the 
Tartars : whom God hath raised up from the utmost parts 
of the earth, according to that which the Lord saith : I will 
provoke them to envy (namely such as keep not his law) 
by a people, which is no people, and by a foolish nation 
will I anger them. This prophecy is fulfilled, according to 
the literal sense thereof, upon all nations which observe not 
the law of God. All this which I have written concerning 
the land of Pascatir, was told me by certain friars Praedi- 
cants, which travelled thither before ever the Tartars came 
abroad. And from that time they were subdued unto 
their neighbours the Bulgarians, being Saracens, where- 
upon many of them proved Saracens also. Other matters 
concerning this people, may be known out of chronicles. 
For it is manifest, that those provinces beyond Con- 
stantinople, which are now called Bulgaria, Valachia, and 
Sclavonia, were of old time provinces belonging to the 
Greeks. Also Hungaria was heretofore called Pannonia. 
And we were riding over the land of Cangle, from the 
feast of Holy rood, until the feast of All Saints : travelling 
almost every day (according to mine estimation) as far as 
from Paris to Orleans, and sometimes farther, as we were 
provided of post horses : for some days we had change of 


horses twice or thrice in a day. Sometimes we travelled 
two or three days together, not finding any people, and 
then we were constrained not to ride so fast. Of twenty 
or thirty horses we had always the worst, because we were 
strangers. For every one took their choice of the best 
horses before us. They provided me always of a strong 
horse, because I was very corpulent and heavy : but 
whether he ambled a gentle pace or no, I durst not make 
any question. Neither yet durst I complain, although he 
trotted full sore. But every man must be contented with 
his lot as it fell. Whereupon we were exceedingly troubled 
for oftentimes our horses were tired before we could come 
at any people. And then we were constrained to beat and 
whip on our horses, and to lay our garments upon other 
empty horses : yea and sometimes two of us to ride upon 
one horse. 


Of the Hunger and Thirst, and other Miseries, which we 
sustained in our Journey 

OF hunger and thirst, cold and weariness, there was no 
end. For they gave us no victuals, but only in the 
evening. In the morning they used to give us a little 
drink, or some sodden millet to sup off. In the evening 
they bestowed flesh upon us, as namely, a shoulder and 
breast of ram's mutton, and every man a measured 
quantity of broth to drink. When we had sufficient of 
the flesh broth, we were marvellously well refreshed. 
And it seemed to me most pleasant, and most nourish- 
ing drink. Every Saturday I remained fasting until 
night, without eating or drinking of aught. And when 
night came I was constrained, to my great grief and 
sorrow, to eat flesh. Sometimes we were fain to eat 
flesh half sodden, or almost raw, and all for want of 
fuel to seethe it withal ; especially when we lay in the 


fields, or were benighted before we came at our journey's 
end: because we could not then conveniently gather 
together the dung of horses or oxen : for other fuel 
we found but seldom, except perhaps a few thorns in 
some places. Likewise upon the banks of some rivers, 
there are woods growing here and there. Howbeit they 
are very rare. In the beginning our guide highly dis- 
dained us, and it was tedious unto him to conduct such 
base fellows. Afterward, when he began to know us 
somewhat better, he directed us on our way by the 
courts of rich Moals, and we were requested to pray 
for them. Wherefore, had I carried a good interpreter 
with me, I should have had opportunity to have done 
much good. The foresaid Chingis, who was the first 
great Can or Emperor of the Tartars, had four sons, 
of whom proceeded by natural descent many children, 
every one of which doth at this day enjoy great 
possessions : and they are daily multiplied and dispersed 
over that huge and waste desert, which is, in dimensions, 
like unto the ocean sea. Our guide therefore directed 
us, as we were going on our journey, unto many of 
their habitation. And they marvelled exceedingly, that 
we would receive neither gold, nor silver, nor precious 
and costly garments at their hands. They inquired also, 
concerning the great Pope, whether he was of so lasting 
an age as they had heard. For there had gone a report 
among them, that he was five hundred years old. They 
inquired likewise of our countries, whether there were 
abundance of sheep, oxen, and horses or no : concern- 
ing the Ocean sea, they could not conceive of it, because 
it was without limits or banks. 

Upon the even of the feast of All Saints, we forsook 
the way leading towards the east (because the people were 
now descended very much south), and we went on our 
journey by certain alps, or mountains, directly southward, 
for the space of eight days together. In the foresaid desert 
I saw many asses (which they call colan) being rather like 
unto mules ; these did our guide and his companions 
chase very eagerly ; howbeit, they did but lose their 


labour ; for the beasts were too swift for them. Upon 
the seventh day there appeared to the south of us huge 
high mountains, and we entered into a place which was 
well watered, and fresh as a garden, and found land 
tilled and manured. The eighth day after the feast of 
All Saints, we arrived at a certain town of the Saracens, 
named Kenchat, the governor whereof met our guide at 
the town's end with ale and cups. For it is their 
manner at all towns and villages, subject unto them, to 
meet the messengers of Baatu and Mangu-Can with 
meat and drink. At the same time of the year, they 
went upon the ice in that country. And before the 
feast of S. Michael, we had frost in the desert. I 
inquired the name of that province : but being now in a 
strange territory, they could not tell me the name thereof, 
but only the name of a very small city in the same pro- 
vince. And there descended a great river down from the 
mountains, which watered the whole region, according 
as the inhabitants would give it passage, by making divers 
channels and sluices : neither did this river exonerate 
itself into any sea, but was swallowed up by an hideous 
gulf into the bowels of the earth : and it caused many 
fens or lakes. Also I saw many vines, and drank of the 
wine thereof. 


How Ban was put to Death : and concerning the Habitation 
of the Dutch Men 

THE day following, we came unto another cottage near 
unto the mountains. And I inquired what mountains 
they were, which I understood to be the mountains of 
Caucasus, which are stretched forth, and continued on 
both parts to the sea, from the west unto the east; and 
on the west part they are conjoined unto the foresaid 
Caspian Sea, whereinto the river of Volga dischargeth 


his streams. I inquired also of the city of Talas, wherein 
were certain Dutchmen, servants unto one Buri, of whom 
Friar Andrew made mention. Concerning whom also 
I inquired very diligently in the courts of Sartach and 
Baatu. Howbeit, I could have no intelligence of them, 
but only that their lord and master Ban was put to 
death upon the occasion following. This Ban was not 
placed in good and fertile pastures. And upon a 
certain day being drunken, he spake on this wise unto 
his men. Am not I of the stock and kindred of Chingis 
Can, as well as Baatu ? (for in very deed he was brother or 
nephew unto Baatu). Why then do I not pass and repass 
upon the bank of Etilia, to feed my cattle there, as 
freely as Baatu himself doeth ? Which speeches of his 
were reported unto Baatu. Whereupon Baatu wrote unto 
his servants to bring their lord bound unto him. And 
they did so. Then Baatu demanded of him whether 
he had spoken any such words. And he confessed that 
he had. Howbeit (because it is the Tartars' manner to 
pardon drunken men), he excused himself that he was 
drunken at the same time. How durst thou (quoth 
Baatu) once name me in thy drunkenness? And with 
that he caused his head to be chopped off. Concern- 
ing the foresaid Dutchmen, I could not understand aught, 
till I was come unto the court of Mangu-Can. And 
there I was informed that Mangu-Can had removed 
them out of the jurisdiction of Baatu, for the space of 
a month's journey from Talas, eastward, unto a certain 
village, called Bolac : where they are set to dig gold, 
and to make armour. Whereupon I could neither go 
nor come by them. I passed very near the said city in 
going forth, as namely, within three days' journey thereof: 
but I was ignorant that I did so : neither could I have 
turned out of my way, albeit I had known so much. 

From the foresaid cottage we went directly east- 
ward, by the mountains aforesaid. And from that 
time we travelled among the people of Mangu-Can, who 
in all places sang and danced before our guide, because 
he was the messenger of Baatu. For this courtesy they 


do afford each to other ; namely, the people of Mangu- 
Can receiving the messengers of Baatu in manner afore- 
said : and so likewise the people of Baatu entertaining the 
messengers of Mangu-Can. Notwithstanding the people 
of Baatu are more surly and stout, and show not so 
much courtesey unto the subjects of Mangu-Can, as 
they do unto them. A few days after, we entered 
upon those alps where the Cara Catayans were wont 
to inhabit. And there we found a mighty river : inso- 
much that we were constrained to imbarque ourselves, 
and to sail over it. Afterward we came into a certain 
valley, where I saw a castle destroyed, the walls whereof 
were only of mud : and in that place the ground was 
tilled also. And there we found a certain village, named 
Equius, wherein were Saracens, speaking the Persian 
language : howbeit they dwelt an huge distance from 
Persia. The day following, having passed over the fore- 
said alps, which descended from the great mountains 
southward, we entered into a most beautiful plain, having 
high mountains on our right hand, and on the left hand 
of us a certain sea or lake, which containeth fifteen days' 
journey in circuit. All the foresaid plain is most com- 
modiously watered with certain freshets distilling from 
the said mountains, all which do fall into the lake. In 
summer time we returned by the north shore of the 
said lake, and there were great mountains on that side 
also. Upon the forenamed plain there were wont to be 
great store of villages : but for the most part they were 
all wasted, in regard of the fertile pastures, that the 
Tartars might feed their cattle there. We found one 
great city there named Cailac, wherein was a mart, and 
great store of merchants frequenting it. In this city 
we remained fifteen days, staying for a certain scribe 
or secretary of Baatu, who ought to have accompanied 
our guide for the despatching of certain affairs in the 
court of Mangu. All this country was wont to be called 
Organum ; and the people thereof had their proper 
language, and their peculiar kind of writing. But it 
was altogether inhabited of the people called Contomanni. 


The Nestorians likewise in those parts used the very same 
kind of language and writing. They are called Organa, 
because they were wont to be most skilful in playing 
upon the organs or cithern, as it was reported unto 
me. Here first did I see worshippers of idols, concerning 
whom, be it known unto your majesty, that there be 
many sects of them in the east countries. 


How the Nestorians, Saracens, and Idolaters are joined 

THE first sort of these idolaters are called Jugures : whose 
land bordered upon the foresaid land of Organum, within 
the said mountains eastward : and in all their cities 
Nestorians do inhabit together, and they are dispersed 
likewise towards Persia in the cities of the Saracens. The 
citizens of the foresaid city of Cailac had three idol 
temples ; and I entered into two of them, to behold their 
foolish superstitions. In the first of which I found a 
man having a cross painted with ink upon his hand, 
whereupon I supposed him to be a Christian : for he 
answered like a Christian unto all questions which I 
demanded of him. And I asked him, why therefore have 
you not the cross with the image of Jesu Christ there- 
upon ? And he answered ; We have no such custom. 
Whereupon I conjectured that they were indeed Christians; 
but, that for lack of instruction they omitted the foresaid 
ceremony. For I saw there behind a certain chest (which 
was unto them instead of an altar, whereupon they set 
candles and oblations) an image having wings like unto 
the image of Saint Michael, and other images also, holding 
their fingers, as if they would bless some body. That 
evening I could not find anything else. For the Saracens 
do only invite men thither, but they will not have them 


speak of their religion. And therefore, when I inquired of 
the Saracens concerning such ceremonies, they were offended 
thereat. On the morrow after were the Kalends, and the 
Saracens' feast of Passover. And changing mine inn or 
lodging the same day, I took up mine abode near unto 
another idol-temple. For the citizens of the said city of 
Cailac do courteously invite, and lovingly entertain all 
messengers, every man of them according to his ability 
and portion. And entering into the foresaid idol-temple, 
I found the priests of the said idols there. For always at 
the Kalends they set open their temples, and the priests 
adorn themselves, and offer up the people's oblation of 
bread and fruits. First therefore I will describe unto you 
those rites and ceremonies, which are common unto all 
their idol-temples : and then the superstitions of the 
foresaid Jugures, which be, as it were, a sect distinguished 
from the rest. They do all of them worship towards the 
north, clapping their hands together, and prostrating 
themselves on their knees upon the earth, holding also 
their foreheads in their hands. Whereupon the Nestorians 
of those parts will in no case join their hands together in 
time of prayer : but they pray, displaying their hands 
before their breasts. They extend their temples in length 
east and west ; and upon the north side they build a 
chamber, in manner of a vestry, for themselves to go forth 
into. Or sometimes it is otherwise. If it be a four 
square temple, in the midst of the temple, towards the 
north side thereof, they take in one chamber in that place 
where the choir should stand. And within the said 
chamber they place a chest long and broad like unto a 
table : and behind the said chest towards the south stands 
their principal idol : which I saw at Caracarum, and it was 
as big as the idol of Saint Christopher. Also a certain 
Nestorian priest, which had been in Catay, said that in that 
country there is an idol of so huge a bigness, that it may 
be seen two days' journey before a man come at it. And 
so they place other idols round about the foresaid princi- 
pal idol, being all of them finely gilt over with pure gold : 
and upon the said chest, which is in manner of a table, 


they set candles and oblations. The doors of their temples 
are always opened towards the south, contrary to the 
custom of the Saracens. They have also great bells like 
unto us. And that is the cause (as I think) why the 
Christians of the east will in no case use great bells. 
Notwithstanding they are common among the Russians, 
and Grecians of Gasaria. 


Of their 'Temples and Idols : and how they behave them- 
selves in Worshipping their False Gods 

ALL their priests had their heads and beards shaven quite 
over : and they are clad in saffron coloured garments : and 
being once shaven, they lead an unmarried life from that 
time forward : and they live an hundred or two hundred 
of them together in one cloister or convent. Upon those 
days when they enter into their temples, they place two 
long forms therein : and so sitting upon the said forms like 
singing men in a choir, namely the one half of them directly 
over against the other, they have certain books in their 
hands, which sometimes they lay down by them upon the 
forms : and their heads are bare so long as they remain in 
the temple. And there they read softly unto themselves, 
not uttering any voice at all. Whereupon coming in 
amongst them, at the time of their superstitious devotions, 
and finding them all sitting mute in manner aforesaid, 1 
attempted divers ways to provoke them unto speech, and 
yet could not by any means possible. They have with 
them also whithersoever they go, a certain string with an 
hundred or two hundred nutshells thereupon, much like to 
our bead-roll which we carry about with us. And they do 
always utter these words: Ou mam Hactani, God thou 
knowest ; as one of them expounded it unto me. And so 
often do they expect a reward at God's hands, as they 


pronounce these words in remembrance of God. Round 
about their temple they do always make a fair court, like 
unto a churchyard, which they environ with a good wall : 
and upon the south part thereof they build a great portal, 
wherein they sit and confer together. And upon the top 
of the said portal they pitch a long pole right up, exalting 
it, if they can, above all the whole town besides. And by 
the same pole all men may know, that there stands the 
temple of their idols. These rites and ceremonies aforesaid 
be common unto all idolaters in those parts. 

Going upon a time towards the foresaid idol-temple, I 
found certain priests sitting in the outward portal. And those 
which I saw, seemed unto me, by their shaven beards, as if they 
had been Frenchmen. They wore certain ornaments upon 
their heads made of paper. The priests of the foresaid 
Jugures do use such attire whithersoever they go. They are 
always in their saffron coloured jackets, which be very 
straight being laced or buttoned from the bosom right down, 
after the French fashion. And they have a cloak upon their 
left shoulder descending before and behind under their 
right arm, like unto a deacon carrying the housel-box in 
time of Lent. Their letters or kind of writing the Tartars 
did receive. They begin to write at the top of their paper 
drawing their lines right down : and so they read and 
multiply their lines from the left hand to the right. They 
do use certain papers and characters in their magical practices. 
Whereupon their temples are full of such short scrolls hung 
round about them. Also Mangu-Can hath sent letters unto 
your majesty written in the language of the Moals or 
Tartars, and in the foresaid hand or letter of the Jugures. 
They burn their dead according to the ancient custom, and 
lay up the ashes in the top of a pyramis. Now, after I had 
sat a while by the foresaid priests, and entered into their 
temple and seen many of their images both great and small, 
I demanded of them what they believed concerning God : 
and they answered : We believe that there is only one God. 
And I demanded further : Whether do you believe that 
he is a spirit or some bodily substance ? They said : We 
believe that he is a spirit. Then said I : Do you believe 


that God ever took man's nature upon him ? They 
answered : No. And again I said : Since ye believe that 
he is a spirit, to what end do you make so many bodily 
images to represent him ? Since also you believe not that 
he was made man : Why do you resemble him rather unto 
the image of a man than of any other creature ? Then they 
answered saying : We frame not those images whereby to 
represent God. But when any rich man amongst us, or 
his son, or his wife, or any of his friends deceaseth, he 
causeth the image of the dead party to be made, and to be 
placed here : and we in remembrance of him do reverence 
thereunto. Then I replied : You do these things only for 
the friendship and flattery of men. No (said they) but 
for their memory. Then they demanded of me, as it 
were in scoffing wise : Where is God ? To whom I 
answered : Where is your soul. They said, in our bodies. 
Then said I, Is it not in every part of your body, ruling 
and guiding the whole body, and yet notwithstanding is 
not seen or perceived ? Even so God is everywhere and 
ruleth all things, and yet is he invisible, being understand- 
ing and wisdom itself. Then being desirous to have had 
some more conference with them, by reason, that mine 
interpreter was weary, and not able to express my meaning, 
I was constrained to keep silence. 

The Moals or Tartars are in this regard of their sect : 
namely they believe that there is but one God: howbeit 
they make images of felt, in remembrance of their deceased 
friends, covering them with five most rich and costly gar- 
ments, and putting them into one or two carts, which carts 
no man dare once touch : and they are in the custody of 
their soothsayers, who are their priests, concerning whom 
I will give your highness more at large to understand 
hereafter. These soothsayers or diviners do always attend 
upon the court of Mangu and of other great personages. 
As for the poorer or meaner sort, they have them not, but 
such only as are of the stock and kindred of Chingis. And 
when they are to remove or to take any journey, the said 
diviners go before them, even as the cloudy pillar went before 
the children of Israel. And they appoint ground where 


the tents must be pitched, and first of all they take down 
their own houses : and after them the whole court doth 
the like. Also upon their festival days or kalends they 
take forth the foresaid images, and place them in order 
round, or circle wise within the house. Then come the 
Moals or Tartars, and enter into the same house, bowing 
themselves before the said images and worship them. 
Moreover, it is not lawful for any stranger to enter into 
that house. For upon a certain time I myself would have 
gone in, but I was chidden full well for my labour. 


Of Divers and Sundry Nations : and of certain People which 
were wont to eat their own Parents 

BUT the foresaid Jugures (who live among the Christians, 
and the Saracens) by their sundry disputations, as I 
suppose, have been brought unto this, to believe, that 
there is but one only God. And they dwell in certain 
cities, which afterward were brought in subjection unto 
Chingis Can : whereupon he gave his daughter in marriage 
unto their king. Also the city of Caracarum itself is in a 
manner within their territory : and the whole country of 
king or Presbyter John, and of his brother Vut lieth near 
unto their dominions : saying that they inhabit in certain 
pastures northward, and the said Jugures between the 
mountains towards the south. Whereupon it came to 
pass, that the Moals received letters from them. And 
they are the Tartars' principal scribes : and all the 
Nestorians almost can skill of their letters. Next unto 
them, between the foresaid mountains eastward, inhabiteth 
the nation of Tangur, who are a most valiant people, and 
took Chingis in battle. But after the conclusion of a 
league he was set at liberty by them, and afterwards sub- 
dued them. These people of Tangut have oxen of great 


strength, with tails like unto horses, and with long shaggy 
hair upon their backs and bellies. They have legs greater 
than other oxen have, and they are exceedingly fierce. 
These oxen draw the great houses of the Moals : and their 
horns are slender, long, straight, and most sharp pointed : 
insomuch that their owners are fain to cut off the ends of 
them. A cow will not suffer herself to be coupled unto 
one of them, unless they whistle or sing unto her. They 
have also the qualities of a buffe, for if they see a man 
clothed in red, they run upon him immediately to kill him. 
Next unto them are the people of Teber, men which were 
wont to eat the carcases of their deceased parents ; that 
for pities' sake, they might make no other sepulchre for 
them, than their own bowels. Howbeit, of late they have 
left off this custom, because that thereby they became 
abominable and odious unto all other nations. Notwith- 
standing unto this day they make fine cups of the skulls of 
their parents, to the end that when they drink out of them, 
they may amidst all their jollities and delights call their 
dead parents to remembrance. This was' told me by one 
that saw it. The said people of Teber have great plenty 
of gold in their land. Whosoever therefore wanteth gold, 
diggeth till he hath found some quantity, and then taking 
so much thereof as will serve his turn, he layeth up the 
residue within the earth : because, if he should put it into 
his chest or storehouse he is of opinion that God would 
withhold from him all other gold within the earth. I saw 
some of those people, being very deformed creatures. In 
Tangut I saw lusty tall men, but brown and swart in 
colour. The Jugures are of a middle stature like unto our 
Frenchmen. Amongst the Jugures is the original and 
root of the Turkish, and Comanian languages. Next unto 
Teber are the people of Langa and Solanga, whose 
messengers I saw in the Tartars' court. And they had 
brought more than ten great carts with them, every one of 
which was drawn with six oxen. They be little brown 
men like unto Spaniards. Also they have jackets, like 
unto the upper vestment of a deacon, saving that the 
sleeves are somewhat stratghter. And they have mitres 


upon their heads like bishops. But the fore part of their 
mitre is not so hollow within as the hinder part : neither is 
it sharp pointed or cornered at the top : but there hang 
down certain square flaps compacted of a kind of straw 
which is made rough and rugged with extreme heat, and is 
so trimmed, that it glittereth in the sun beams, like unto a 
glass, or an helmet well burnished. And about their 
temples they have long bands of the foresaid matter 
fastened unto their mitres, which hover in the wind as if 
two long horns grew out of their heads. And when the 
wind tosseth them up and down too much, they tie them 
over the midst of their mitre from one temple to another : 
and so they lie circle wise overthwart their heads. More- 
over their principal messenger coming into the Tartars' 
court had a table of elephant's tooth about him of a cubit 
in length, and a handful in breadth, being very smooth. 
And whensoever he spake unto the emperor himself, or 
unto any other great personage, he always beheld that 
table, as if he had found therein those things which he 
spake : neither did he cast his eyes to the right hand, nor 
to the left, nor upon his face, with whom he talked. Yea, 
going to and fro before his lord, he looketh nowhere but 
only upon his table. 

Beyond them (as I understand of a certainty) there 
are other people called Muc, having villages, but no 
one particular man of them appropriating any cattle unto 
himself. Notwithstanding there are many flocks and 
droves of cattle in their country, and no man appointed 
to keep them. But when any one of them standeth 
in need of any beast, he ascendeth up unto an hill, and 
there maketh a shout, and all the cattle which are 
within hearing of the noise, come flocking about him, and 
suffer themselves to be handled and taken, as if they were 
tame. And when any messenger or stranger cometh into 
their country, they shut him up into an house, ministering 
there things necessary unto him, until his business be 
dispatched. For if any stranger should travel through 
that country, the cattle would flee away at the very scent 
of him, and so would become wild. Beyond Muc is great 


Cathaya, the inhabitants whereof (as I suppose) were of 
old time, called Seres. For from them are brought most 
excellent stuffs of silk. And this people is called Seres of 
a certain town in the same country. I was credibly 
informed, that in the said country, there is one town 
having walls of silver, and bulwarks or towers of gold. 
There be many provinces in that land, the greater part 
whereof are not as yet subdued unto the Tartars. 

*.* The copy of the Latin narrative of William de Rubruquis to 
which Hakluyt had access ended here, and he was therefore unable 
to translate the remaining chapters. These contain very few illus- 
trations of the Travels of Mandeville. 


Here beginneth the Journal of Friar Odoricus, of the Order of 
the Minorites, concerning Strange Things which he saw 
among the Tartars of the East 

ALBEIT many and sundry things are reported by divers 
authors concerning the fashions and conditions of this 
world : notwithstanding I Friar Odoricus of Friuli, de 
portu Vahonis, being desirous to travel unto the foreign 
and remote nations of infidels, saw and heard great and 
miraculous things, which I am able truly to avouch. First of 
all therefore sailing from Pera by Constantinople, I arrived 
at Trapesunda. This place is right commodiously situate, 
as being an haven for the Persians and Medes, and other 
countries beyond the sea. In this land I beheld with great 
delight a very strange spectacle, namely a certain man 
leading about with him more than four thousand partridges. 
The man himself walked upon the ground, and the part- 
ridges flew in the air, which he led unto a certain castle 
called Zauena, being three days* journey distant from 
Trapesunda. The said partridges were so tame, that when 
the man was desirous to lie down and rest they would all 
come flocking about him like chickens. And so he led 
them unto Trapesunda, and unto the palace of the emperor, 
who took as many of them as he pleased, and the rest the 
said man carried unto the place from whence he came. In 
this city lyeth the body of Athanasius upon the gate of the 
city. And then I passed on further unto Armenia major, 



to a certain city called Azaron, which had been very rich 
in old time, but now the Tartars have almost laid it waste. 
In the said city there was abundance of bread and flesh, 
and of all other victuals except wine and fruits. This city 
also is very cold, and is reported to be higher situated, 
than any other city in the world. It hath most wholesome 
and sweet waters about it ; for the veins of the said waters 
seem to spring and flow from the mighty river of Euphrates, 
which is but a day's journey from the said city. Also, the 
said city stands directly in the way to Tauris. And I 
passed on unto a certain mountain called Sobissacalo. In 
the foresaid country there is the very same mountain 
whereupon the Ark of Noah rested : unto the which I 
would willingly have ascended, if my company would have 
stayed for me. Howbeit, the people of that country 
report, that no man could ever ascend the said mountain, 
because (say they) it pleaseth not the highest God. And 
I travelled on further unto Tauris that great and royal 
city, which was in old time called Susis. This city is 
accounted for traffic of merchandise the chief city of the 
world : for there is no kind of victuals, nor anything else 
belonging unto merchandise, which is not to be had there 
in great abundance. This city stands very commodiously, 
for unto it all the nations of the whole world in a manner 
may resort for traffic. Concerning the said city, the 
Christians in those parts are of opinion, that the Persian 
Emperor receives more tribute out of it, than the King of 
France out of all his dominions. Near unto the said city 
there is a salt-hill yielding salt unto the city : and of that 
salt each man may take what pleaseth him, not paying 
aught to any man therefore. In this city many Christians 
of all nations do inhabit, over whom the Saracens bear rule 
in all things. 

Then I travelled on further unto a city called Soldania, 
wherein the Persian Emperor lieth all summer time : 
but in winter he takes his progress unto another city 
standing upon the sea called Baku. Also the foresaid 
city is very great and cold, having good and wholesome 
waters therein, unto the which also store of merchandise is 


brought. Moreover I travelled with a certain company of 
caravans toward upper India : and in the way, after many 
days' journey, I came unto the city of the three Wise Men 
called Cassan, which is a noble and renowned city, saving 
that the Tartars have destroyed a great part thereof : and 
it aboundeth with bread, wine, and many other commodities. 
From this city unto Jerusalem (whither the three foresaid 
Wise Men were miraculously led) it is fifty days' journey. 
There be many wonders in this city also, which, for 
brevity's sake, I omit. From thence I departed unto a 
certain city called Geste, whence the Sea of Sand is distant, 
one day's journey, which is a most wonderful and danger- 
ous thing. In this city there is abundance of all kinds of 
victuals, and especially of figs, raisins, and grapes : more 
(as I suppose) than in any part of the whole world besides. 
This is one of the three principal cities in all the Persian 
Empire. Of this city the Saracens report, that no 
Christian can by any means live therein above a year. 
Then passing many days' journey on forward, I came unto 
a certain city called Comum, which was an huge and 
mighty city in old time, containing well nigh fifty miles in 
circuit, and hath done in times past great damage unto the 
Romans. In it there are stately palaces altogether destitute 
of inhabitants, notwithstanding it aboundeth with great 
store of victuals. From hence travelling through many 
countries, at length I came unto the land of Job named 
Hus, which is full of all kind of victuals, and very pleasantly 
situated. Thereabouts are certain mountains having good 
pastures for cattle upon them. Here also manna is found 
in great abundance. Four partridges are here sold for less 
than a groat. In this country there are most comely old 
men. Here also the men spin and card, and not the 
women. This land bordereth upon the north part of 



Of the Manners of the Chaldaeans, and of India 

FROM thence I travelled into Chaldea, which is a great 
kingdom, and I passed by the tower of Babel. This 
region hath a language peculiar unto itself, and there are 
beautiful men, and deformed women. The men of the 
same country use to have their hair kempt and trimmed 
like unto women : and they wear golden turbans upon 
their heads richly set with pearl, and precious stones. 
The women are clad in a coarse smock only reaching to 
their knees, and having long sleeves hanging down to the 
ground. And they go bare-footed, wearing breeches 
which reach to the ground also. They wear no attire 
upon their heads, but their hair hang disheveled about 
their ears ; and there be many other strange things also. 
From thence I came into the lower India, which the 
Tartars overran and wasted. And in this country the 
people eat dates for the most part, whereof forty-two Ib. 
are there sold for less than a groat. I passed further also 
many days' journey unto the Ocean sea, and the first land 
where I arrived, is called Ormes, being well fortified, and 
having great store of merchandise and treasure therein. 
Such and so extreme is the heat in that country, that the 
privities of men come out of their bodies and hang down 
even unto their mid-legs. And therefore the inhabitants 
of the same place, to preserve their own lives, do make a 
certain ointment, and anointing their privy members there- 
with, do lap them up in certain bags fastened unto their 
bodies, for otherwise they must needs die. Here also 
they use a kind of barque or ship called lase being com- 
pact together only with hemp. And I went on board into 
one of them, wherein I could not find any iron at all, 
and in the space of twenty-eight days I arrived at the city 
of Thana, wherein four of our friars were martyred for 
the faith of Christ. This country is well situate, having 


abundance of bread and wine, and of other victuals 
therein. This kingdom in old time was very large and 
under the dominion of King Porus, who fought a great 
battle with Alexander the Great. The people of this 
country are idolaters worshipping fire, serpents and trees. 
And over all this land the Saracens do bear rule, who took 
it by main force, and they themselves are in subjection 
unto King Daldilus. There be divers kinds of beasts, as 
namely black lions in great abundance, and apes also, and 
monkeys, and bats as big as doves. Also there are mice 
as big as our country dogs, and therefore they are hunted 
with dogs, because cats are not able to encounter them. 
Moreover, in the same country every man hath a bundle 
of great boughs standing in a water-pot before his door, 
which bundle is as great as a pillar, and it will not wither, 
so long as water is applied thereunto : with many other 
novelties and strange things, the relation whereof would 
breed great delight. 


How Pepper is had : and where it groweth 

MOREOVER, that it may be manifest how pepper is had, 
it is to be understood that it groweth in a certain kingdom 
whereat I myself arrived, being called Minibar, and it 
is not so plentiful in any other part of the world as it 
is there. For the wood wherein it grows containeth in 
circuit eighteen days' journey. And in the said wood or 
forest there are two cities, one called Flandrina, and the 
other Cyncilim. In Flandrina both Jews and Christians 
do inhabit, between whom there is often contention and 
war : howbeit the Christians overcome the Jews at all 
times. In the foresaid wood pepper is had after this 
manner : first it groweth in leaves like unto pot-herbs, 
which they plant near unto great trees as we do our vines, 
and they bring forth pepper in clusters, as our vines 


do yield grapes, but being ripe, they are of a green colour, 
and are gathered as we gather grapes, and then the grains 
are laid in the sun to be dried, and being dried are 
put into earthen vessels : and thus is pepper made and 
kept. Now, in the same wood there be many rivers, 
wherein are great store of crocodiles, and of other serpents, 
which the inhabitants thereabout do burn up with straw 
and with other dry fuel, and so they go to gather their 
pepper without danger. At the south end of the said 
forests stands the city of Polumbrum, which aboundeth 
with merchandise of all kinds. All the inhabitants of that 
country do worship a living ox, as their god, whom they 
put to labour for six years, and in the seventh year 
they cause him to rest from all his work, placing him in a 
solemn and public place, and calling him an holy beast. 
Moreover they use this foolish ceremony : every morning 
they take two basins, either of silver, or of gold, and 
with one they receive the urine of the ox, and with 
the other his dung. With the urine they wash their 
face, their eyes, and all their five senses. Of the dung 
they put into both their eyes, then they anoint the balls of 
their cheeks therewith, and thirdly their breast : and then 
they say that they are sanctified for all that day. And as 
the people do, even so do their king and queen. 

This people worshippeth also a dead idol, which, from the 
navel upward, resembleth a man, and from the navel down- 
ward an ox. The very same idol delivers oracles unto 
them, and sometimes requireth the blood of forty virgins 
for his hire. And therefore the men of that region do 
consecrate their daughters and their sons unto their idols, 
even as Christians do their children unto some religion 
or saint in heaven. Likewise they sacrifice their sons and 
their daughters, and so, much people is put to death 
before the said idol by reason of that accursed ceremony. 
Also many other heinous and abominable villainies doth 
that brutish beastly people commit : and I saw many more 
strange things among them which I mean not here to 
insert. Another most vile custom the foresaid nation 
doth retain : for when any man dieth they burn his dead 


corpse to ashes : and if his wife surviveth him, her 
they burn quick, because (say they) she shall accompany 
her husband in his tilthe and husbandry, when he is come 
into a new world. Howbeit the said wife having children 
by her husband, may if she will, remain still alive with them, 
without shame or reproach : notwithstanding, for the most 
part, they all of them make choice to be burnt with their 
husbands. Now, albeit the wife dieth before her husband, 
that law bindeth not the husband to such inconvenience, 
but he may marry another wife also. Likewise, the said 
nation hath another strange custon, in that their women 
drink wine, but their men do not. Also the women have 
the lids and brows of their eyes and beards shaven, 
but their men have not : with many other base and filthy 
fashions which the said women do use contrary to the 
nature of their sex. From that kingdom I travelled ten 
days' journey unto another kingdom called Mobar, which 
containeth many cities. Within a certain church of the 
same country, the body of Saint Thomas the apostle is 
interred, the very same church being full of idols : and 
in fifteen houses round about the said church, there 
dwell certain priests who are Nestorians, that is to say, 
false, and bad Christians, and schismatics. 


Of a Strange and Uncouth Idol : and of certain Customs 
and Ceremonies 

IN the said kingdom of Mobar there is a wonderful strange 
idol, being made after the shape and resemblance of a man, 
as big as the image of our Christopher, and consisting all 
of most pure and glittering gold. And about the neck 
thereof hangeth a silk ribbon, full of most rich and precious 
stones, some one of which is of more value than a whole 
kingdom. The house of this idol is all of beaten gold, 


namely the roof, the pavement, and the ceiling of the wall 
within and without. Unto this idol the Indians go on 
pilgrimage, as we do unto S. Peter. Some go with halters 
about their necks, some with their hands bound behind them, 
some other with knives sticking on their arms or legs : 
and if after their peregrination, the flesh of their wounded 
arm festereth or corrupteth, they esteem their limb to be 
holy, and think that their god is well pleased with them. 

Near unto the temple of that idol is a lake made by 
the hands of men in an open and common place, where- 
into the pilgrims cast gold, silver, and precious stones, 
for the honour of the idol and the repairing of his 
temple. And therefore when anything is to be adorned 
or mended, they go unto this lake taking up the treasure 
which was cast in. Moreover at every yearly feast of the 
making or repairing of the said idol, the king and queen, 
with the whole multitude of the people, and all the 
pilgrims assemble themselves, and placing the said idol in 
a most stately and rich chariot, they carry him out of their 
temple with songs, and with all kind of musical harmony, 
and a great company of virgins go procession-wise two and 
two in a rank singing before him. Many pilgrims also 
put themselves under the chariot wheels, to the end that 
their false god may go over them : and all they over whom 
the chariot runneth are crushed in pieces, and divided in 
sunder in the midst, and slain right out. Yea, and in 
doing this, they think themselves to die most holily and 
securely, in the service of their god. And by this means 
every year, there die under the said filthy idol more than 
500 persons, whose carcasses are burned, and their ashes are 
kept for relics, because they died in that sort for their god. 

Moreover they have another detestable ceremony. For 
when any man offers to die in the service of his false 
god, his parents, and all his friends assemble themselves 
together with a consort of musicians, making him a great 
and solemn feast : which feast being ended, they hang five 
sharp knives about his neck carrying him before the idol, 
and so soon as he is come thither, he taketh one of his 
knives crying with a loud voice, For the worship of my 


god do I cut this my flesh, and then he casteth the 
morsel which is cut, at the face of his idol : but at the 
very last wound wherewith he murdereth himself, he 
uttereth these words : Now do I yield myself to death in 
the behalf of my god, and being dead, his body is burned, 
and is esteemed by all men to be holy. The king of the 
said region is most rich in gold, silver and precious stones, 
and there be the fairest unions in all the world. 

Travelling from thence by the Ocean sea fifty days' journey 
southward, I came unto a certain land named Lammori, 
where, in regard of extreme heat, the people both men and 
women go stark-naked from top to toe : who seeing me 
apparelled scoffed at me, saying, that God made Adam and 
Eve naked. In this country all women are common, so that 
no man can say, this is my wife. Also when any of the 
said women beareth a son or a daughter, she bestoweth it 
upon anyone that hath lien with her, whom she pleaseth. 
Likewise all the land of that region is possessed in common, 
so that there is not mine and thine, or any propriety of 
possession in the division of lands : howbeit every man 
hath his own house peculiar unto himself. Man's flesh, if 
it be fat, is eaten as ordinarily there, as beef in our 
country. And albeit the people are most lewd, yet the 
country is exceeding good, abounding with all com- 
modities, as flesh, corn, rice, silver, gold, wood of aloes, 
camphor, and many other things. Merchants coming unto 
this region for traffic do usually bring with them fat 
men, selling them unto the inhabitants as we sell hogs, 
who immediately kill and eat them. In this island towards 
the south there is another kingdom called Simoltra, where 
both men and women mark themselves with red-hot iron 
in twelve sundry spots of their faces ; and this nation is at 
continual war with certain naked people in another region. 
Then I travelled further unto another island called Java, 
the compass whereof by sea is 3000 miles. The king of 
this island hath seven other crowned kings under his juris- 
diction. The said island is throughly inhabited, and is 
thought to be one of the principal islands of the whole 
world. In the same island there groweth great plenty of 


cloves, cubebs, and nutmegs, and in a word all kinds of 
spices are there to be had, and great abundance of all 
victuals except wine. The king of the said land of Java 
hath a most brave and sumptuous palace, the most loftily- 
built, that ever I saw any, and it hath most high greeses 
and stairs to ascend up to the rooms therein contained, one 
stair being of silver, and another of gold, throughout the 
whole building. Also the lower rooms were paved all over 
with one square plate of silver, and another of gold. All 
the walls upon the inner side were seeled over with plates 
of beaten gold, whereupon were engraven the pictures of 
knights, having about their temples, each of them, a wreath 
of gold, adorned with precious stones. The roof of the 
palace was of pure gold. With this king of Java the great 
Can of Catay hath had many conflicts in war; whom 
notwithstanding the said king hath always overcome and 


Of certain Trees yielding Meal^ Honey ^ and Poison 

NEAR unto the said island is another country called Pan ten, 
or Tathalamasin. And the king of the same country hath 
many islands under his dominion. In this land there are 
trees yielding meal, honey, and wine, and the most deadly 
poison in all the whole world : for against it there is but 
one only remedy : and that is this : if any man hath taken 
of the poison, and would be delivered of the danger 
thereof, let him temper the dung of a man in water, and so 
drink a good quantity thereof, and it expels the poison 
immediately, making it to avoid at the fundament. Meal 
is produced out of the said trees after this manner. They 
be mighty huge trees, and when they are cut with an axe 
by the ground, there issueth out of the stock a certain 
liquor like unto gum, which they take and put into bags 
made of leaves, laying them for fifteen days together 


abroad in the sun, and at the end of those fifteen days, 
when the said liquor is throughly parched, it becometh 
meal. Then they steep it first in sea water, washing it 
afterward with fresh water, and so it is made very good 
and savoury paste, whereof they make either meat or 
bread, as they think good. Of which bread I myself did 
eat, and it is fairer without and somewhat brown within. 

By this country is the sea called Mare mortuum, which 
runneth continually southward, into the which whosoever 
falleth is never seen after. In this country also are found 
canes of an incredible length, namely of sixty paces high or 
more, and they are as big as trees. Other canes there be 
also called Cassan, which overspread the earth like grass, 
and out of every knot of them spring forth certain 
branches, which are continued upon the ground almost for 
the space of a mile. In the said canes there are found 
certain stones, one of which stones, whosoever carryeth 
about with him, cannot be wounded with any iron : and 
therefore the men of that country for the most part, carry 
such stones with them, whithersoever they go. Many 
also cause one of the arms of their children, while they are 
young, to be lanced, putting one of the said stones into 
the wound, healing also, and closing up the said wound 
with the powder of a certain fish (the name whereof I do 
not know), which powder doth immediately consolidate 
and cure the said wound. And by the virtue of these 
stones, the people aforesaid do for the most part triumph 
both on sea and land. Howbeit there is one kind of 
stratagem, which the enemies of this nation, knowing the 
virtue of the said stones, do practise against them : namely, 
they provide themselves armour of iron or steel against 
their arrows, and weapons also poisoned with the poison of 
trees, and they carry in their hands wooden stakes most 
sharp and hard-pointed, as if they were iron : likewise they 
shoot arrows without iron heads, and so they confound 
and slay some of their unarmed foes trusting too securely 
unto the virtue of their stones. Also of the foresaid canes 
called cassan they make sails for their ships, and little 
houses, and many other necessaries. From thence after 


many days' travel, I arrived at another kingdom called 
Campa, a most beautiful and rich country, and abounding 
with all kinds of victuals : the king thereof, at my being 
there, had so many wives and concubines, that he had 
three hundred sons and daughters by them. This king 
hath 10,004 tame elephants, which are kept even as we 
keep droves of oxen, or flocks of sheep in pasture. 


Of the Abundance of Fishes, which cast themselves upon 

the Shore 

IN this country there is one strange thing to be observed, 
the every several kind of fishes in those seas come swim- 
ming towards the said country in such abundance, that, for 
a great distance into the sea, nothing can be seen but the 
backs of fishes ; which casting themselves upon the shore 
when they come near unto it, do suffer men, for the space 
of three days, to come and to take as many of them as 
they please, and then they return again unto the sea. 
After that kind of fishes comes another kind, offering 
itself after the same manner, and so in like sort all other 
kinds whatsoever : notwithstanding they do this but once in 
a year. And I demanded of the inhabitants there, how, 
or by what means this strange accident could come to pass. 
They answered, that fishes were taught, even by nature, to 
come and to do homage unto their emperor. There be 
tortoises also as big as an oven. Many other thing I saw 
which are incredible, unless a man should see them with 
his own eyes. In this country also dead men are burned, 
and their wives are burned alive with them, as in the city of 
Polumbrum above mentioned : for the men of the country 
say that she goeth to accompany him in another world, 
that he should take none other wife in marriage. More- 
over I travelled on further by the Ocean-sea towards the 


south, and passed through many countries and islands, 
whereof one is called Moumoran, and it containeth in 
compass 2000 miles, wherein men and women have dogs' 
faces, and worship an ox for their god : and therefore 
every one of them carry the image of an ox of gold or 
silver upon their foreheads. The men and women of this 
country go all naked, saving that they hang a linen cloth 
before their privities. The men of that country are very 
tall and mighty, and by reason that they go naked, when 
they are to make battle, they carry iron or steel targets 
before them, which do cover and defend their bodies, from 
top to toe : and whomsoever of their foes they take in 
battle not being able to ransom himself for money, they 
presently devour him : but if he be able to redeem himself 
for money, they let him go free. Their king weareth 
about his neck three hundred great and most beautiful 
unions, and saith every day three hundred prayers unto 
his god. He weareth upon his finger also a stone of a 
span long, which seemed to be a flame of fire, and there- 
fore when be weareth it, no man dare once approach him: 
and they say that there is not any stone in the whole 
world of more value than it. Neither could at any time 
the great Tartarian Emperor of Katay either by force, 
money, or policy obtain it at his hands : notwithstanding 
that he hath done the utmost of his endeavour for this 


Of the Island of Sylan : and of the Mountain where Adam 
mourned for his son Abel 

I PASSED also by another island called Sylan, which con- 
taineth in compass above 2000 miles : wherein are an 
infinite number of serpents, and great store of lions, bears, 
and all kinds of ravening and wild beasts, and especially of 
elephants. In the said country there is an huge mountain, 


where upon the inhabitants of that region do report that 
Adam mourned for his son Abel the space of five hundred 
years. In the midst of this mountain there is a most 
beautiful plain, wherein is a little lake containing great 
plenty of water, which water the inhabitants report to have 
proceeded from the tears of Adam and Eve : howbeit I 
proved that to be false, because I saw the water flow in 
the lake. This water is full of horse-leeches, and blood 
suckers, and of precious stones also : which precious stones 
the king taketh not unto his own use, but once or twice 
every year he permitteth certain poor people to dive under 
the water for the said stones, and all that they can get, he 
bestoweth upon them, to the end that they may pray for 
his soul. But that they may with less danger dive under 
the water, they take lemons which they peel, anointing 
themselves throughly with the juice thereof, and so they 
may dive naked under the water, the horse-leeches not 
being able to hurt them. From this lake the water 
runneth even unto the sea, and at a low ebb, the inhabi- 
tants dig rubies, diamonds, pearls and other precious 
stones out of the shore : whereupon it is thought, that the 
king of this island hath greater abundance of precious 
stones, than any other monarch in the whole earth besides. 
In the said country there be all kinds of beasts and 
fowls, and the people told me, that those beasts would not 
invade nor hurt any stranger, but only the natural inhabi- 
tants. I saw in this island fowls as big as our country 
geese, having two heads, and other miraculous things, 
which I will not here write of. Travelling on further 
toward the south, I arrived at a certain island called Bodin, 
which signifieth in our language unclean. In this island 
there do inhabit most wicked persons, who devour and eat 
raw flesh, committing all kinds of uncleanness and abomi- 
nations in such sort, as it is incredible. For the father 
eateth his son, and the son his father, the husband his own 
wife, and the wife her husband : and that after this 
manner. If any man's father be sick, the son straight 
goes unto the sooth-saying or prognosticating priest, 
requesting him to demand of his god, whether his father 


shall recover of that infirmity or not. Then both of them 
go unto an idol of gold or of silver, making their prayers 
unto it in manner following : Lord, thou art our god, and 
thee we do adore, beseeching thee to resolve us, whether 
such a man must die, or recover of such an infirmity or 
no. Then the devil answereth out of the foresaid idol: 
if he saith (he shall live) then returneth his son and 
ministreth things necessary unto him, till he hath attained 
unto his former health : but if he saith (he shall die) then 
goes the priest unto him, and putting a cloth into his 
mouth doth strangle him therewith : which being done, he 
cuts his dead body into morsels, and all his friends and 
kinsfolks are invited unto the eating thereof, with music 
and all kinds of mirth : howbeit his bones are solemnly 
buried. And when I found fault with that custom 
demanding a reason thereof, one of them gave me this 
answer : This we do, lest the worms should eat his flesh, 
for then his soul should suffer great torments, neither 
could I by any means remove them from that error. 
Many other novelties and strange things there be in this 
country, which no man would credit, unless he saw them 
with his own eyes. Howbeit, I (before almighty God) 
do here make relation of nothing but of that only, whereof 
I am as sure, as a man may be sure. Concerning the 
foresaid islands I inquired of divers well-experienced 
persons, who all of them, as it were with one consent, 
answered me, saying, That this India contained 4400 
islands under it, or within it, in which islands there are 
sixty and four crowned kings : and they say moreover, 
that the greater part of those islands are well inhabited. 
And here I conclude concerning that part of India. 



Of the Upper India : and of the Province of Mancy 

FIRST of all, therefore, having travelled many days' journey 
upon the Ocean-sea toward the east, at length I arrived 
at a certain great province called Mancy, being in 
Latin named India. Concerning this India I inquired of 
Christians, of Saracens, and of idolaters, and of all such 
as bear any office under the great Can. Who all of them 
with one consent answered, that this province of Mancy 
hath more than 2000 great cities within the precincts 
thereof, and that it aboundeth with all plenty of victuals, 
as namely with bread, wine, rice, flesh, and fish. All the 
men of this province be artificers and merchants, who, 
though they be in never so extreme penury, so long as 
they can help themselves by the labour of their hands, 
will never beg alms of any man. The men of this 
province are of a fair and comely personage, but somewhat 
pale, having their heads shaven but a little : but the women 
are the most beautiful under the sun. The first city 
of the said India which I came unto, is called Ceuskalon, 
which being a day's journey distant from the sea, stands 
upon a river, the water whereof, near unto the mouth, 
where it exonerateth itself into the sea, doth overflow 
the land for the space of twelve days' journey. All the 
inhabitants of this India are worshippers of idols. The 
foresaid city of Ceuskalon hath such an huge navy belong- 
ing thereunto, that no man would believe it unless he 
should see it. In this city I saw 300 Ib. of good and new 
ginger sold for less than a groat. There are the greatest 
and the fairest geese, and most plenty of them to be 
sold in all the whole world, as I suppose. They are 
as white as milk, and have a bone upon the crown of 
their heads as big as an egg, being of the colour of 
blood : under their throat they have a skin or bag hanging 
down half a foot. They are exceeding fat and well sold. 


Also they have ducks and hens in that country, one as 
big as two of ours. There be monstrous great serpents 
likewise, which are taken by the inhabitants and eaten: 
whereupon a solemn feast among them without serpents is 
nought set by : and to be brief, in this city there are 
all kind of victuals in great abundance. From thence I 
passed by many cities, and at length I came unto a city 
named Caitan, wherein the Friars Minorites have two 
places of abode, unto the which I transported the bones of 
the dead friars, which suffered martyrdom for the faith 
of Christ, as it is above mentioned. In this city there 
is abundance of all kind of victuals very cheap. The 
said city is as big as two of Bononia, and in it are 
many monasteries of religious persons, all which do worship 
idols. I myself was in one of those monasteries, and it 
was told me, that there were in it 3000 religious men, 
having 1 1 ,000 idols : and one of the said idols, which 
seemed unto me but little in regard of the rest, was as big 
as our Christopher. These religious men every day do 
feed their idol gods : whereupon at a certain time I went 
to behold the banquet : and indeed those things which 
they brought unto them were good to eat, and fuming hot, 
insomuch that the stream of the smoke thereof ascended 
up unto their idols, and they said that their gods were 
refreshed with the smoke : howbeit, all the meat they 
conveyed away, eating it up their own selves, and so they 
fed their dumb gods with the smoke only. 


Of the City Fuco 

TRAVELLING more eastward, I came unto a city named 
Fuco, which containeth thirty miles in circuit, wherein be 
exceeding great and fair cocks, and all their hens are as 
white as the very snow, having wool instead of feathers, 


like unto sheep. It is a most stately and beautiful city 
and standeth upon the sea. Then I went eighteen days' 
journey on further, and passed by many provinces and 
cities, and in the way I went over a certain great mountain, 
upon the one side whereof I beheld all living creatures to 
be as black as a coal, and the men and women on that side 
differed somewhat in manner of living from others ; how- 
beit, on the other side of the said hill every living thing 
was snow-white, and the inhabitants in their manner of 
living, were altogether unlike unto others. There, all 
married women carry in token that they have husbands, a 
great trunk of horn upon their heads. From thence I 
travelled eighteen days' journey further, and came unto a 
certain great river, and entered also into a city, whereunto 
belongeth a mighty bridge to pass the said river. And 
mine host with whom I sojourned, being desirous to 
show me some sport, said unto me : Sir, if you will see 
any fish taken, go with me. Then he led me unto the 
foresaid bridge, carrying in his arms with him certain dive- 
doppers or water fowls, bound unto a company of poles, 
and about every one of their necks he tied a thread, lest 
they should eat the fish as fast as they took them : and he 
carried three great baskets with him also. Then loosed he 
the dive-doppers from the poles, which presently went into 
the water, and within less than the space of one hour, 
caught as many fishes as filled the three baskets : which 
being full, mine host untied the threads from about their 
necks, and entering the second time into the river they fed 
themselves with fish, and being satisfied they returned and 
suffered themselves to be bound unto the said poles as 
they were before. And when I did eat of those fishes, me 
thought they were exceeding good. Travelling thence 
many days' journey, at length I arrived at another city 
called Canasia, which signifieth in our language, the city of 
heaven. Never in my life did I see so great a city : for it 
containeth in circuit an hundred miles : neither saw I any 
plot thereof, which was not throughly inhabited : yea, I 
saw many houses of ten or twelve stories high, one above 
another. It hath mighty large suburbs containing more 


people than the city itself. Also it hath twelve principal 
gates : and about the distance of eight miles, in the high- 
way unto every one of the said gates standeth a city as big 
by estimation as Venice, and Padua. The foresaid city of 
Canasia is situated in waters or marshes, which always 
stand still, neither ebbing nor flowing : howbeit, it hath a 
defence for the wind like unto Venice. In this city there 
are more than 1 1 ,000 bridges, many whereof I numbered 
and passed over them : and upon every of those bridges 
stand certain watchmen of the city, keeping continual 
watch and ward about the said city, for the great Can the 
Emperor of Catay. The people of this country say, that 
they have one duty enjoined unto them by their lord ; for 
every fire payeth one balis in regard of tribute : and a 
balis is five papers or pieces of silk, which are worth one 
florin and an half of our coin. Ten or twelve households 
are accounted for one fire, and so pay tribute but for one 
fire only. All those tributary fires amount unto the 
number of eighty-five thuman, with other four thuman of 
the Saracens, which make eighty-nine in all : and one 
thuman consisteth of 10,000 fires. The residue of the 
people of the city are some of them Christians, some 
merchants, and some travellers through the country, 
whereupon I marvelled much how such an infinite number 
of persons could inhabit and live together. There is great 
abundance of victuals in this city, as namely of bread and 
wine, and especially of hogs' flesh, with other necessaries. 


Of a Monastery where many strange beasts of divers kinds 
do live upon an hill 

IN the foresaid city four of our friars had converted a 
mighty and rich man unto the faith of Christ, at whose 
house I continually abode, for so long time as I remained 


in the city. Who upon a certain time said unto me : Ara, 
that is to say, father, will you go and behold the city. 
And I said, Yea. Then embarqued we ourselves, and 
directed our course unto a certain great monastery : where 
being arrived, he called a religious person with whom he 
was acquainted, saying unto him concerning me : this 
Raban Francus, that is to say, this religious Frenchman, 
cometh from the western parts of the world, and is now 
going to the city of Cambaleth to pray for the life of the 
great Can, and therefore you must show him some rare 
thing, that when he returns into his own country, he may 
say, this strange sight or novelty have I seen in the city of 
Canasia. Then the said religious man took two great 
baskets full of broken relics which remained of the table, 
and led me unto a little walled park, the door whereof he 
unlocked with his key, and there appeared unto us a 
pleasant fair green plot, into the which we entered. In 
the said green stands a little mount in form of a 
steeple, replenished with fragrant herbs, and fine shady 
trees. And while we stood there, he took a cymbal or 
bell, and rang therewith, as they use to ring to dinner or 
bevoir in cloisters, at the sound whereof many creatures of 
divers kinds came down from the mount, some like apes, 
some like cats, some like monkeys : and some having faces 
like men. And while I stood beholding of them, they 
gathered themselves together about him, to the number of 
4200 of those creatures, putting themselves in good order, 
before whom he set a platter, and gave them the said 
fragments to eat. And when they had eaten he rang upon 
his cymbal the second time, and they all returned unto 
their former places. Then, wondering greatly at the 
matter, I demanded what kind of creatures those might 
be. They are (quoth he) the souls of noble men which we 
do here feed, for the love of God who governeth the 
world : and as a man was honourable or noble in this life, 
so his soul after death, entereth into the body of some 
excellent beast or other, but the souls of simple and 
rustical people do possess the bodies of more vile and 
brutish creatures. Then I began to refute that foul error : 


howbeit my speech did nothing at all prevail with him : 
for he could not be persuaded that any soul might remain 
without a body. 

From thence I departed unto a certain city named 
Chilenso, the walls whereof contained forty miles in 
circuit. In this city there are 360 bridges of stone, the 
fairest that ever I saw: and it is well inhabited, having 
a great navy belonging thereunto, and abounding with all 
kind of victuals and other commodities. And thence I 
went unto a certain river called Thalay, which, where it is 
most narrow, is seven miles broad : and it runneth through 
the midst of the land of Pygmaei, whose chief city is called 
Cakam, and is one of the goodliest cities in the world. 
These Pigmaeans are three of my spans high, and they 
make larger and better cloth of cotton and silk, than any 
other nation under the sun. And coasting along by the 
said river, I came unto a certain city named Janzu, in 
which city there is one receptacle for the friars of our 
order, and there be also three churches of the Nestorians. 

This Janzu is a noble and great city, containing forty- 
eight thuman of tributary fires, and in it are all kinds of 
victuals, and great plenty of such beasts, owls and fishes, as 
Christians do usually live upon. The lord of the same 
city hath in yearly revenues for salt only, fifty thuman 
of balis, and one balis is worth a florin and a half of our 
coin : insomuch that one thuman of balis amounteth unto 
the value of fifteen thousand florins. Howbeit the said 
lord favoureth his people in one respect, for sometimes he 
forgiveth them freely two hundred thuman, lest there 
should be any scarcity or dearth among them. There is a 
custom in this city, that when any man is determined to 
banquet his friends, going about unto certain taverns or 
cooks' houses appointed for the same purpose, he saith 
unto every particular host, you shall have such, and such of 
my friends, whom you must entertain in my name, for so 
much I will bestow upon the banquet. And by that 
means his friends are better feasted at diverse places, than 
they should have been at one. Ten miles from the said 
city, about the head of the foresaid river of Thalay, there 


is a certain other city called Montu, which hath the 
greatest navy that I saw in the whole world. All their 
ships are as white as snow, and they have banqueting 
houses in them, and many other rare things also, which no 
man would believe, unless he had seen them with his own 


Of the City of Cambaleth 

TRAVELLING eight days' journey further by divers terri- 
tories and cities, at length I came by fresh water unto a 
certain city named Lencyn, standing upon the river of 
Karauoran, which runneth through the midst of Cataie, 
and doth great harm in the country when it overfloweth 
the banks, or breaketh forth of the channel. From thence 
passing along the river eastward, after many days' travel, 
and the sight of divers cities, I arrived at a city called 
Sumakoto, which aboundeth more with silk than any other 
city of the world : for when there is great scarcity of silk, 
forty pound is sold for less than eight groats. In this city 
there is abundance of merchandise, and of all kinds of 
victuals also, as of bread, wine, flesh, fish, with all choice 
and delicate spices. Then travelling on still towards the 
east by many cities, I came unto the noble and renowned 
city of Cambaleth, which is of great antiquity, being 
situate in the province of Cataie. This city the Tartars 
took, and near unto it within the space of half a mile, they 
built another city called Caido. The city of Caido hath 
twelve gates, being each of them two miles distant from 
another. Also the space lying in the midst between the 
two foresaid cities is very well and throughly inhabited, 
so that they make as it were but one city between them 
both. The whole compass or circuit of both cities 
together, is forty miles. In this city the great emperor 
Can hath his principal seat, and his imperial palace, the 


walls of which palace contain four miles in circuit : and 
near unto this his palace are many other palaces and houses 
of his nobles which belong unto his court. Within the 
precincts of the said palace imperial, there is a most 
beautiful mount, set and replenished with trees, for which 
cause it is called the Green Mount, having a most royal 
and sumptuous palace standing thereupon, in which, for 
the most part, the great Can is resident. Upon the one 
side of the said mount there is a great lake, whereupon a 
most stately bridge is built, in which lake is great abund- 
ance of geese, ducks, and all kinds of water-fowls : and in 
the wood growing upon the mount there is great store of 
all birds, and wild beasts. And therefore when the great 
Can will solace himself with hunting or hawking, he needs 
not so much as once to step forth of his palace. More- 
over, the principal palace, wherein he maketh his abode, is 
very large, having within it fourteen pillars of gold, and 
all the walls thereof are hung with red skins, which are said 
to be the most costly skins in all the world. In the midst 
of the palace stands a cistern of two yards high, which 
consisteth of a precious stone called Merdochas, and is 
wreathed about with gold, and at each corner thereof is 
the golden image of a serpent, as it were, furiously shaking 
and casting forth his head. This cistern also hath a kind 
of network of pearl wrought about it. Likewise by the 
said cistern there is drink conveyed through certain pipes 
and conducts, such as useth to be drunk in the emperor's 
court, upon the which also there hang many vessels of 
gold, wherein, whosoever will make drink of the said 
liquor. In the foresaid palace there are many peacocks of 
gold : and when any Tartar maketh a banquet unto his 
lord, if the guests chance to clap their hands for joy and 
mirth, the said golden peacocks also will spread abroad 
their wings, and lift up their trains, seeming as if they 
danced : and this I suppose to be done by art magic or 
by some secret engine under the ground. 



Of the glory and magnificence of the great Can 

MOREOVER, when the great Emperor Can sitteth in his 
imperial throne of estate, on his left side sitteth his queen 
or empress, and upon another inferior seat there sit two 
other women, which are to accompany the emperor, when 
his spouse is absent, but in the lowest place of all, there 
sit all the ladies of his kindred. All the married women 
wear upon their heads a kind of ornament in shape like 
unto a man's foot, of a cubit and a half in length, and the 
lower part of the said foot is adorned with cranes' feathers, 
and is all over thick set with great and orient pearls. 
Upon the right hand of the great Can sitteth his first 
begotten son and heir apparent unto his empire, and under 
him sit all the nobles of the blood royal. There be also 
four secretaries, which put all things in writing that the 
emperor speaketh. In whose presence likewise stand his 
barons and divers others of his nobility, with great trains 
of followers after them, of whom none dare speak so 
much as one word, unless they have obtained licence of 
the emperor so to do, except his jesters and stage-players, 
who are appointed of purpose to solace their lord. Neither 
yet dare they attempt to do aught, but only according to 
the pleasure of their emperor, and as he enjoineth them by 
law. About the palace gate stand certain barons to keep 
all men from treading upon the threshold of the said gate. 
When it pleaseth the great Can to solemnize a feast, he 
hath about him 14,000 barons, carrying wreaths and little 
crowns upon their heads, and giving attendance upon their 
lord, and every one of them weareth a garment of gold 
and precious stones, which is worth ten thousand florins. 
His court is kept in very good order, by governors of 
tens, governors of hundreds, and governors of thousands, 
insomuch that every one in his place performeth his duty 
committed unto him, neither is there any defect to be 


found. I Friar Odoricus was there present in person for 
the space of three years, and was often at the said ban- 
quets : for we Friars Minorites have a place of abode 
appointed out for us in the emperor's court, and are 
enjoined to go and bestow our blessing upon him. And 
I inquired of certain courtiers concerning the number of 
persons pertaining to the emperor's court. And they 
answered me, that of stage-players, musicians, and such 
like, there were eighteen thuman at the least, and that the 
keepers of dogs, beasts and fowls were fifteen thuman, 
and the physicians for the emperor's body, were four 
hundred : the Christians also were eight in number, 
together with one Saracen. At my being there, all the 
foresaid number of persons had all kinds of necessaries 
both for apparel and victuals out of the emperor's court. 
Moreover, when he will make his progress from one 
country to another, he hath four troops of horsemen, one 
being appointed to go a day's journey before, and another 
to come a day's journey after him, the third to march on 
his right hand, and the fourth on his left, in the manner of 
a cross, he himself being in the midst, and so every 
particular troop have their daily journeys limited unto 
them, to the end they may provide sufficient victuals with- 
out defect. Now the great Can himself is carried in 
manner following: he rideth in a chariot with two wheels, 
upon which a majestical throne is built of the wood of aloe, 
being adorned with gold and great pearls, and precious 
stones, and four elephants bravely furnished do draw the 
said chariot, before which elephants four great horses richly 
trapped and covered do lead the way. Hard by the chariot 
on both sides thereof, are four barons laying hold and 
attending thereupon, to keep all persons from approaching 
near unto their emperor. Upon the chariot also two milk- 
white ger-falcons do sit, and seeing any game which he 
would take, he letteth them fly, and so they take it, and 
after this manner doth he solace himself as he rideth. 
Moreover, no man dare come within a stone's cast of the 
chariot, but such as are appointed. The number of his 
own followers, of his wives' attendants, and of the train of 


his first begotten son and heir apparent, would seem in- 
credible unto any man, unless he had seen it with his own 
eyes. The foresaid great Can hath divided his empire into 
twelve parts or provinces, and one of the said provinces 
hath two thousand great cities within the precincts thereof. 
Whereupon his empire is of that length and breadth, that 
unto whatsoever part thereof he intendeth his journey, he 
hath space enough for six months' continual progress, 
except his islands which are at the least 5000. 


Of certain inns or hospitals appointed for travellers 
throughout the whole Empire 

THE foresaid emperor (to the end that travellers may have 
all things necessary throughout his whole empire) hath 
caused certain inns to be provided in sundry places upon 
the highways, where all things pertaining unto victuals are 
in a continual readiness. And when any alteration or 
news happen in any part of his empire, if he chance to be 
far absent from that part, his ambassadors upon horses or 
dromedaries ride post unto him ; and when themselves 
and their beasts are weary, they blow their horn, at the 
noise whereof, the next inn likewise provideth a horse 
and a man who takes the letter of him that is weary, and 
runneth unto another inn : and so by divers inns, and 
divers posts, the report, which ordinarily could scarce 
come in thirty days, is in one natural day brought unto 
the emperor : and therefore no matter of any moment 
can be done in his empire, but straightway he hath intelli- 
gence thereof. Moreover, when the great Can himself 
will go on hunting, he useth this custom. Some twenty 
days' journey from the city of Kambaleth there is a forest 
containing six days' journey in circuit, in which forest 
there are so many kinds of beasts and birds, as it is 


incredible to report. Unto this forest, at the end of every 
third or fourth year, himself with his whole train resorteth, 
and they all of them together environ the said forest, 
sending dogs into the same, which by hunting do bring 
forth the beasts: namely, lions and stags, and other 
creatures, unto a most beautiful plain in the midst of the 
forest, because all the beasts of the forest do tremble, 
especially at the cry of the hounds. Then cometh the 
great Can himself, being carried upon three elephants, and 
shooteth five arrows into the whole herd of beasts, and 
after him all his barons, and after them the rest of 
his courtiers and family do all in like manner discharge 
their arrows also, and every man's arrow hath a 
sundry mark. Then they all go unto the beasts 
which are slain (suffering the living beasts to return into 
the wood that they may have more sport with them 
another time) and every man enjoyeth that beast as his 
own, wherein he findeth his arrow sticking. 


Of the four feasts which the great Can solemnizeth every 
year in his Court 

FOUR great feasts in a year doeth the Emperor Can cele- 
brate : namely, the feast of his birth, the feast of his 
circumcision, the feast of his coronation, and the feast of 
his marriage. And unto these feasts he inviteth all his 
barons, his stage-players, and all such as are of his kindred. 
Then the great Can sitting in his throne, all his barons 
present themselves before him, with wreaths and crowns 
upon their heads, being diversly attired, for some of them 
are in green, namely, the principal ; the second are in red, 
and the third in yellow, and they hold each man in his 
hand a little ivory table of elephant's tooth, and they are 
girt with golden girdles of half a foot broad, and they 


stand upon their feet keeping silence. About them stand 
the stage-players or musicians with their instruments. And 
in one of the corners of a certain great palace, all the 
philosophers or magicians remain for certain hours, and do 
attend upon points or characters : and when the point and 
hour which the said philosophers expected for, is come, a 
certain crier crieth out with a loud voice, saying, Incline or 
bow yourselves before your Emperor ; with that all the 
barons fall flat upon the earth. Then he crieth out again : 
Arise all, and immediately they all arise. Likewise the 
philosophers attend upon a point or character the second 
time, and when it is fulfilled, the crier crieth out amain : 
Put your fingers in your ears ; and forthwith again he 
sayeth : Pluck them out. Again, at the third point he 
crieth, Bolt this meal. Many other circumstances also do 
they perform, all which they say have some certain significa- 
tion ; howbeit, neither would I write them, nor give any 
heed unto them, because they are vain and ridiculous. 
And when the musicians' hour is come, then the philo- 
sophers say, Solemnize a feast unto your lord : with that 
all of them sound their instruments, making a great and 
melodious noise. And immediately another crieth, Peace, 
peace, and they are all whist. Then come the women 
musicians and sing sweetly before the Emperor, which 
music was more delightful unto me. After them come in 
the lions and do their obeisance unto the great Can. Then 
the jugglers cause golden cups full of wine to fly up and 
down in the jiir, and to apply themselves unto men's 
mouths that they may drink of them. These and many 
other strange things I saw in the court of the great Can, 
which no man would believe unless he had seen them with 
his own eyes, and therefore I omit to speak of them. I 
was informed also by certain credible persons, of another 
miraculous thing, namely that in a certain kingdom of the 
said Can, wherein stand the mountains called Kapsei (the 
kingdom's name is Kalor) there grow great gourds or 
pompions, which being ripe, do open at the tops, and 
within them is found a little beast like unto alyoung lamb, 
even as I myself have heard reported, that there stand 


certain trees upon the shore of the Irish Sea, bearing fruit 
like unto a gourd, which, at a certain time of the year do 
fall into the water, and become birds called bernacles, and 
this is most true. 


Of divers Provinces and Cities 

AND after three years I departed out of the empire of 
Cataie, travelling fifty days' journey towards the West. 
And at length I came unto the empire of Pretegoani, 
whose principal city is Kosan, which hath many other cities 
under it. From thence passing many days' travel, I came 
unto a province called Casan, which is for good com- 
modities, one of the only provinces under the sun, and is 
very well inhabited, insomuch that when we depart out of 
the gates of one city we may behold the gates of another 
city, as I myself saw in divers of them. The breadth of 
the said province is fifty days' journey, and the length 
about sixty. In it there is great plenty of all victuals, and 
especially of chestnuts, and it is one of the twelve provinces 
of the great Can. Going on further, I came unto a certain 
kingdom called Tebek, which is in subjection unto the great 
Can also, wherein I think there is more plenty of bread 
and wine than in any other part of the world besides. The 
people of the said country do, for the most part, inhabit in 
tents made of black felt. Their principal city is environed 
with fair and beautiful walls, being built of most white 
and black stones, which are disposed chequerwise one by 
another, and curiously compiled together : likewise all the 
highways in this country are exceedingly well paved. In 
the said country none dare shed the blood of a man, or of 
any beast, for the reverence of a certain idol. In the fore- 
said city their Abassi, that is to say, their Pope is resident, 
being the head and prince of all idolaters (upon whom he 
bestoweth and distributeth gifts after his manner) even as 


our Pope of Rome accounts himself to be the head of all 
Christians. The women of this country wear above an 
hundred tricks and trifles about them, and they have two 
teeth in their mouths as long as the tusks of a boar. 
When any man's father deceaseth among them, his son 
assembleth together all the priests and musicians that he 
can get, saying that he is determined to honour his father : 
then causeth he him to be carried into the field (all his 
kinsfolks, friends, and neighbours accompanying him in 
the said action), where the priests with great solemnity cut 
off the father's head, giving it unto his son, which being 
done, they divide the whole body into morsels, and so 
leave it behind them, returning home with prayers in the 
company of the said son. So soon as they are departed, 
certain vultures, which are accustomed to such banquets, 
come flying from the mountains, and carry away all the 
said morsels of flesh: and from thenceforth a fame is 
spread abroad, that the said party deceased was holy, 
because the angels of God carried him into paradise. And 
this is the greatest and highest honour, that the son can 
devise to perform unto his deceased father. Then the said 
son taketh his father's head seething it and eating the flesh 
thereof, but of the skull he makes a drinking cup, wherein 
himself with all his family and kindred do drink with great 
solemnity and mirth, in the remembrance of his dead and de- 
voured father. Many other vile and abominable things doth 
the said nation commit, which I mean not to write, because 
men neither can nor will believe, except they should have 
the sight of them. 


Of a certain rich man, who is fed and nourished 
by fifty virgins 

WHILE I was in the province of Mancy, I passed by the 
palace of a certain famous man, which hath fifty virgin 


damsels continually attending upon him, feeding him every 
meal, as a bird feeds her young ones. Also he hath 
sundry kinds of meat served in at his table, and three 
dishes of each kind : and when the said virgins feed him, 
they sing most sweetly. This man hath in yearly revenues 
thirty thuman of tagars of rice, every of which thuman 
yieldeth ten thousand tagars, and one tagar is the burden 
of an ass. His palace is two miles in circuit, the pavement 
whereof is one place of gold, and another of silver. Near 
unto the wall of the said palace there is a mount artificially 
wrought with gold and silver, whereupon stand turrets and 
steeples and other delectable things for the solace and 
recreation of the foresaid great man. And it was told me 
that there were four such men in the said kingdom. It is 
accounted a great grace for the men of that country to 
have long nails upon their fingers, and especially upon 
their thumbs, which nails they may fold about their hands: 
but the grace and beauty of their women is to have small 
and slender feet; and therefore the mothers when their 
daughters are young, do bind up their feet, that they may 
not grow great. 

Travelling on further towards the South, I arrived 
at a certain country called Melistorte, which is a very 
pleasant and fertile place. And in this country there 
was a certain aged man called Senex de monte, who round 
about two mountains had built a wall to enclose the said 
mountains. Within this wall there were the fairest and 
most crystal fountains in the whole world : and about the 
said fountains there were most beautiful virgins in great 
number, and goodly horses also, and in a word, everything 
that could be devised for bodily solace and delight, and 
therefore the inhabitants of the country call the same place 
by the name of Paradise. The said old Senex, when he 
saw any proper and valiant young man, he would admit 
him into his paradise. Moreover by certain conduits he 
makes wine and milk to flow abundantly. This Senex, 
when he hath a mind to revenge himself or to slay any 
king or baron, commandeth him that is governor of the 
said paradise, to bring thereunto some of the acquaintance 


of the said king or baron, permitting him a while to take 
his pleasure therein, and then to give him a certain potion 
being of force to cast him into such a slumber as should 
make him quite void of all sense, and so being in a pro- 
found sleep to convey him out of his paradise : who being 
awaked, and seeing himself thrust out of the paradise 
would become so sorrowful, that he could not in the world 
devise what to do, or whither to turn him. Then would 
he go unto the foresaid old man, beseeching him that he 
might be admitted again into his paradise : who saith unto 
him, You cannot be admitted thither, unless you will slay 
such or such a man for my sake, and if you will give the 
attempt only, whether you kill him or no, I will place you 
again in paradise, that there you may remain always ; then 
would the party without fail put the same in execution, 
endeavouring to murder all those against whom the said 
old man had conceived any hatred. And therefore all the 
kings of the East stood in awe of the said old man, and 
gave unto him great tribute. 


Of the Death of Senex de monte 

AND when the Tartars had subdued a great part of the 
world, they came unto the said old man, and took from 
him the custody of his paradise : who being incensed 
thereat, sent abroad divers desperate and resolute persons 
out of his forenamed paradise, and caused many of the 
Tartarian nobles to be slain. The Tartars seeing this, 
went and besieged the city wherein the said old man was, 
took him, and put him to a most cruel and ignominious 
death. The friars in that place have this special gift and 
prerogative : namely, that by the virtue of the name of 
Christ Jesu, and in the virtue of his precious blood, which 
he shed upon the cross for the salvation of mankind, they 
do cast forth devils out of them that are possessed. And 


because there are many possessed men in those parts, they 
are bound and brought ten days' journey unto the said 
friars, who being dispossessed of the unclean spirits, do 
presently believe in Christ who delivered them, accounting 
him for their God, and being baptized in his name, and also 
delivering immediately unto the friars all their idols, and 
the idols of their cattle, which are commonly made of felt 
or of women's hair. Then the said friars kindle a fire in a 
public place (whereunto the people resort, that they may 
see the false gods of their neighbours burnt) and cast the 
said idols thereunto ; howbeit at the first those idols came 
out of the fire again. Then the friars sprinkled the said 
fire with holy water, casting the idols into it the second 
time, and with that the devils fled in the likeness of black 
smoke, and the idols still remained till they were con- 
sumed unto ashes. Afterward, this noise and outcry was 
heard in the air : Behold and see how I am expelled out 
of my habitation. And by these means the friars do 
baptize great multitudes, who presently revolt again unto 
their idols : insomuch that the said friars must eftsoons, as 
it were, underprop them, and inform them anew. 

There was another terrible thing which I saw there : for 
passing by a certain valley, which is situate beside a pleasant 
river, I saw many dead bodies, and in the said valley also I 
heard divers sweet sounds and harmonies of music, especi- 
ally the noise of citherns, whereat I was greatly amazed. 
This valley containeth in length seven or eight miles at the 
least, into the which whosoever entereth, dieth presently, 
and can by no means pass alive through the midst thereof : 
for which cause all the inhabitants there about decline unto 
the one side. Moreover, I was tempted to go in, and to 
see what it was. At length making my prayers, and re- 
commending myself to God in the name of Jesu, I entered, 
and saw such swarms of dead bodies there, as no man 
would believe unless he were an eye-witness thereof. At 
the one side of the foresaid valley upon a certain stone, I 
saw the visage of a man, which beheld me with such a 
terrible aspect, that I thought verily I should have died in 
the same place. But always this sentence, The Word 


became flesh, and dwelt amongst us, I ceased not to pro- 
nounce, signing myself with the sign of the cross, and 
nearer than seven or eight paces I durst not approach 
unto the said head : but I departed and fled unto another 
place in the said valley, ascending up into a little sandy 
mountain, where looking round about, I saw nothing but 
the said citherns, which methought I heard miraculously 
sounding and playing by themselves without the help of 
musicians. And being upon the top of the mountain, I 
found silver there like the scales of fishes in great 
abundance : and I gathered some part thereof into my 
bosom to show for a wonder, but my conscience rebuking 
me, I cast it up the earth, reserving no whit at all unto 
myself, and so, by God's grace, I departed without danger. 
And when the men of the country knew that I was 
returned out of the valley alive, they reverenced me much, 
saying that I was baptized and holy, and that the foresaid 
bodies were men subject unto the devils infernal, who used 
to play upon citherns, to the end they might allure people 
to enter, and so murder them. Thus much concerning 
those things which I beheld most certainly with mine eyes, 
I friar Odoricus have here written : many strange things 
also I have of purpose omitted, because men will not 
believe them unless they should see them. 


Of the honour and reverence done unto the great Can 

I WILL report one thing more, which I saw, concerning 
the great Can. It is an usual custom in those parts, that 
when the foresaid Can travelleth through any country, his 
subjects kindle fires before their doors, casting spices 
therein to make a perfume, that their lord passing by may 
smell the sweet and delectable odours thereof, and much 
people come forth to meet him. And upon a certain time 


when he was coming towards Cambaleth, the fame of his 
approach being published, a bishop of ours, with certain of 
our Minorite Friars and myself, went two days' journey to 
meet him : and being come nigh unto him, we put a cross 
upon wood, I myself having a censer in my hand, and 
began to sing with a loud voice: Veni creator spirituis. 
And as we were singing on- this wise, he caused us to be 
called, commanding us to come unto him : notwith- 
standing (as it is above mentioned) that no man dare 
approach within a stone's cast of his chariot, unless he be 
called, but such only as keep his chariot. And when we 
came near unto him, he vailed his hat or bonnet being of 
an inestimable price, doing reverence unto the cross. And 
immediately I put incense into the censer, and our bishop 
taking the censer perfumed him, and gave him his bene- 
diction. Moreover, they that come before the said Can 
do always bring some oblation to present unto him, 
observing the ancient law : Thou shalt not appear in my 
presence with an empty hand. And for that cause we 
carried apples with us, and offered them in a platter with 
reverence unto him : and taking out two of them he did 
eat some part of one. And then he signified unto us, that 
we should go apart, lest the horse coming on might in 
aught offend us. With that we departed from him, and 
turned aside, going unto certain of his barons, which had 
been converted to the faith by certain friars of our order, 
being at the same time in his army : and we offered unto 
them the foresaid apples, who received them at our hands 
with great joy, seeming unto us to be as glad as if we had 
given them some great gift. 

All the premises above written friar William de Solanga 
hath put down in writing even as the foresaid friar 
Odoricus uttered them by word of mouth, in the year of 
our Lord 1330, in the month of May, and in the place of 
S. Anthony of Padua. Neither did he regard to write 
them in difficult Latin or in an eloquent style, but even as 
Odoricus himself rehearsed them, to the end that men 
might the more easily understand the things reported. 
I Friar Odoricus of Friuli, of a certain territory called 


Portuis Vahonis, and of the order of the Minorites, do 
testify and bear witness unto the reverend father Guidotus, 
minister of the province of S. Anthony, in the marqui- 
sate of Treuiso (being by him required upon my obedience 
so to do) that all the premises above written, either I saw 
with mine own eyes, or heard the same reported by 
credible and substantial persons. The common report 
also of the countries where I was, testifieth those things, 
which I saw, to be true. Many other things I have 
omitted, because I beheld them not with mine own eyes. 
Howbeit from day to day I purpose with myself to travel 
countries or lands, in which action I dispose myself to die 
or to live, as it shall please my God. 


Of the Death of Friar Odoricus 

IN the year therefore of our Lord 1331 the foresaid friar 
Odoricus preparing himself for the performance of his 
intended journey, that his travel and labour might be to 
greater purpose, he determined to present himself unto 
Pope John the two and twentieth, whose benediction and 
obedience being received, he, with a certain number of 
friars willing to bear him company, might convey himself 
unto all the countries of infidels. And as he was travelling 
towards the Pope, and not far distant from the city of Pisa, 
there meets him by the way a certain old man, in the habit 
and attire of a pilgrim, saluting him by name, and saying : 
All hail friar Odoricus. And when the friar demanded 
how he had knowledge of him, he answered : Whilst you 
were in India I knew you full well, yea, and I knew your 
holy purpose also : but see that you return immediately 
unto the convent from whence you came, for ten days 
hence you shall depart out of this present world. Where- 
fore being astonished and amazed at these words (especially 


the old man vanishing out of his sight, presently after he 
had spoken them) he determined to return. And so he 
returned in perfect health, feeling no crazedness nor infir- 
mity of body. And being in his convent at Udene in the 
province of Padua, the tenth day after the foresaid vision, 
having received the communion, and preparing himself 
unto God, yea, being strong and sound of body, he happily 
rested in the Lord : whose sacred departure was signified 
unto the Pope aforesaid, under the hand of the public notary 
in these words following : 

In the year of our Lord 1331, the 14 day of January, 
Beatus Odoricus a Friar Minorite, deceased in Christ, at 
whose prayers God showed many and sundry miracles, 
which I Guetelus public notary of Utina, son of M. 
Damianus de Porto Gruaro, at the commandment and 
direction of the honourable Conradus of the Borough of 
Gastaldion, and one of the Council of Utina, have written 
as faithfully as I could, and have delivered a copy thereof 
unto the Friars Minorites: howbeit not of all, because they 
are innumerable, and too difficult for me to write. 


[This index is mainly a finding-list, such geographical information as it 
contains is for the most part borrowed from Mr. Warner's edition 
referred to in the Bibliographical Note. A. W. P.] 

Abassi, name for Pope of Tibet, 


Abbana, River, 85. 
Abbot of Mt. Sinai, miraculous 

election of, 41. 
Abchaz (Abkhasia), kingdom of, 

between the Caucasus and the 

Black Sea, 169, 171. 
Abdon, prophet, S. John Baptist 

buried near, 7 1 . 
Abebissam, name for fruit of balm, 


Abednego, one of the Three 
Children, 23. 

Abraham, leaves Haran, 29 ; dwells 
at Beersheba, 44; his house at 
Hebron, 45 ; offered his sacri- 
fice at Golgotha, 51; his garden, 
66 ; Mahommedan belief as to, 
92; his birth, 103. 

Absalom, image of stone made by, 

Abzor, Mt. (Mt. Elbruz), in 
Georgia, 170. 

Aceldama, the field of, 62. 

Achelleke (? Atteleke, Et-Tih), 
wilderness of, 23. 

Acias, Alanians called, 285, 293. 

Acre, see Akon. 

Adam, sends Seth for the oil of 
mercy, 9 ; wept a century for 

Abel, 44; lake from his tears in 
Isle of Sylan (Ceylon), 131, 
339; dwells at Hebron, 45; 
his head found at Golgotha, 


Adamants, rocks of, attract ships, 

109 sq., 178 ; mountains of, 

attract arrows, 227 sq. 
Adder, issuing from a tomb, 1 9 ; 

adders eaten as a delicacy, 135* 

See also Serpents. 
Admirals, governors of cities, 26, 

55, i5 2 - 

Adread, afraid, 186. 
Adrian, Emperor, 56. 
Adultery, punishment of, 218 ; 

children born of, 219. 
Advertised, informed, 239. 
Aelia, Adrian's name for Jerusalem, 

5 6. 

Again-bought, redeemed, 4. 

Agenor, father of Dido, 2 1 . 

Aghast, terrify, 186. 

Ai (Hayla), city of, 70. 

Akon, Acre, city of, 21 ; taken by 

the Soldan, 25. 
Alabrandines, alabandines, precious 

stones found at Alabanda in 

Caria, 143. 
Alamo, or Alania, country, near 

the Caucasus, called, 171. 



Alanians, in the city of Orna, 232; 
Christians after the manner of 
the Greeks, 285. 

Albania, 97, 135; its limits, 303. 

Albespine, white thorn, Christ's 
crown made of, 10. 

Aleppo, kingdom of, 24 ; its soldan 
subdued by Tartars, 234. 

Alexander, King of Macedon, 1 2 ; 
discourse with trees of the sun 
and moon, 34, 196; builds an 
iron gate to keep barbarians 
from Persia, 169 (mistranslated 
Gate of Hell), 293 ; chases Jews 
of the mountains of the Caspian, 
175; dealings with the Bragman, 
193; campaign against Porus, 

Alexandria, in Egypt, 31, 32, 38; 

twelve cities called, 105. 
Alkaron, the Koran, 48, 89. 
Alkatran, Katran, bitumen, 67. 
All, any (after * without'), 237. 
Alliance, sealed by blood-drinking, 

Almayne, Germany, 6 ; miles of, 


Alphabets, the Greek, 1 5 ; Egyp- 
tian, 36; Hebrew, 73 ; Saracen, 
96 ; Persian, 101. 

Alpheus, sons of, came from Castle 
of Safra, 77. 

Altars, in Greek churches, washed 
after use by Latins, 14 ; only 
one mass a day to be said at, 15. 

Altazar (PAllazar, Aschkala, near 
Erzrum), land of, 100. 

Alti Soldan, Tartar expedition 
against, 231, 247. 

Amazonia, 97, 103 sq. ; tribute 
paid to by Jews of the Caspian, 


Ambassadors, passed through fires, 

163, 221 ; ill-treated, 164,231, 
244 sq., 256 ; reasons against 
the Tartars sending to Europe, 
257 sq. 
Amiens, head of a St. John at, 72. 

Amos, the prophet, 84. 

Amours, castle of (Chateau du 

Dieu d' Amour), in Cyprus, near 

Nicosia, 20. 
An, and, if, 139, 149. 
Anania, one of the Three Children, 


Ancient, senior, 247. 

Andreas, Duke of Russia, put to 
death for stealing Tartar horses, 

Andrew, Friar, 300, 303, 315. 

Andrew, S., born at Bethsaida, 
73 sq. 

Andromeda, legend of, as a great 
giant, 21. 

Annas, garden of, 1 1 ; house of, 60. 

Anne, S., her body brought by S. 
Helena from Jerusalem to Con- 
stantinople, 11, 59; Church of 
at Jerusalem, 59 ; born at 
Capernaum, 78. 

Antarctic Star, 1 20 sq. 

Antichrist, to be born at Chorazim, 


Antioch, city of, described, 86. 
Antipodes, 122. 
Antony, S., of Padua, 360. 
Any (Ani), city of, in Armenia, 

thousand churches in, 100. 
Apertly, openly, 16, 172. 
Appeal, impeach, 93. 
Apple, in the hand of Justinian's 

image at Constantinople, 7 ; 

apples of Paradise sold in Egypt, 

33 ; apples of Dead Sea, 68; 

of Lebanon, 69 ; in land of 

Caldilhe, 174; dwarfs who live 

by the smell of, 196. 
Apple-tree, Adam's, 33. 
Apram, butter-milk, 282. 
Arabia, subject to Soldan, 24 ; 

desert of, 28 ; inferior diamonds 

found in, 1 06. 
Ararat, Mt., legend of, 100. 
Arboth, Hebron, 45. 
Arboury, woodland, 168. 
Archades, plain of, 85. 



Archflamen, high priest of the 

Saracens, 96. 
Archiprothopapaton, priest called, 

Argypte (Argyre), mythical isle of, 

in Indian Ocean, 198. 
Arians, 81. 
Aristotle, born and bred at Stagira, 


Ark of God, 57, 74. 
Arkes (Arka, near Tripoli), castle 

of, near Damascus, 82 sq. 
Armenia, 170, 234. 
Armour, worn by Tartars, 235. 
Arrows, fable of the bundle of, 149. 
Artak, a horned beast like a ram, 


Artetykes, arthritic, 208. 
Artoise (Artah), bridge at, 85. 
Ascalon, 22 ; seventeen miles from 

Jerusalem, 49. 
Ascelline, Friar, ambassador to 

Tartars, 213. 

Ascopards, Arabian tribe, 43. 
Ashes of Indian saints kept as relics, 


Asia Minor, all called Turkey, 16. 
Asphalt, cast out the Dead Sea, 67. 
Ass, on which Christ rode, marks 

of its feet, 54. 
Assani or Assanus, land of^ Wal- 

lachia, 263, 311. 
Assassini, people living near Caspian 

Mountains, 303. 
Assere (Adana), city of, 85. 
Astar, son of Vastacius, 263. 
Astrolabe, instrument for taking 

astronomical observations, 1 20, 


Atempre, temperate, 105. 
Athanasius, S., body of at Trebi- 

zond, 97, 326; his Psalm or 

creed, 97 sq. 
Athos, Mt., its shadow, 12; its 

windless heights, 12 sq. 
Augurs, diviners, 12. 
Avaled, descended, 175. 
Avoir, possession, 130, 192. 

Avoirdupois, merchandise, 100. 
Avoutry, adultery, 37. 
Axe, demanded as tribute, 263. 
Aygnes, ' between the hill of,' mis- 
translation of 'entre montaignes,' 

7 1 ; 
Azariah, one of the Three Children, 

Azaron, city of, 327. 

Baatu, Batho, Bathy, grandson of 
Chinghis Can, 87, 229 sq.; ex- 
pedition by, 231; his import- 
ance, 242 ; Carpini received by, 
243, 259 ; his wives, 267 sqq. ; 
his daily supply of Caracosmos, 
270 ; Rubruk sent to the Court 
of, 297 ; his anger against Ban, 


Babel, Tower of, in great desert of 

Arabia, 27, 145, 329. 
Babylon, description of, 23 ; not 

to be confused with Babel, 27 ; 

taken by Cyrus, 27. 
Bacharia (Bactria), land of, 177. 
Bagdad, or Baldach, city of, 28, 

250; its sultan, 150; subdued 

by Tartars, 234, 247. _ 
Baku, Persian king's winter resi- 
dence, 327. 

Bala, an interpreter, 257. 
Balaam, 67. 
Baldach, see Bagdad. 
Baldakins, brocades, 216, 234, 250. 
Baldwin, King of France, 70. 
Baldwin, of Hainault, 294. 
Balis, five pieces of silk, 344. 
Balm, grows near Cairo, 33 sq.; 

how to detect counterfeits of, 

35, 348; grows in Engeddi, 67; 

grows near trees of Sun and 

Moon, 196. 

Bamboos, described, 127, 336. 
Ban, beheaded for rash words by 

Baatu, 315. 

Bano, white pepper, 113. 
Baptism, Saracen candidate for, 




Barbara, S., shrine of, at Babylon, 

23. m 
Barbarines, sweet (? white) thorns, 

Barchin, city of, resists Tartars, 


Barnabas, S., town in Cyprus, 20. 
Barnacle Geese, see Bernakes. 
Barrets, frauds, 179. 
Bartholomew, Friar, of Cremona, 

Rubruk's associate, 265, 307 sq. 
Basilisk, women with its power of 

slaying, 188. 

Bastarci, of Hungaria Magna, con- 
quered by Tartars, 233, 246. 
Bastards, bitten by serpents in 

Sicily, 37. 
Bathsheba, or Bersabe, Uriah's 

wife, 44. 

Beads, of pearl, 130. 
Beards, not shaved in Greek Church, 

1 5 ; people of Burithabeth have 

none, 227. 
Beasts, people transformed into, 

137, 344 s q- 

Beaumare, or Buemare, river, in 
land of Ichthyophagi, 196. 

Beaumont, Jean de, Baatu's resem- 
blance to, 306. 

Beauvais, Vincent de, 213. 

Beclippe, curdle, 35. 

Bedouin, described, 43. 

Beersheba, founded by Bathsheba, 
44 ; placed at eight miles from 
Jerusalem, 49. 

Begging, unknown in Manzi, 341. 

Behight, promised, 4. 

Behote, promise, 165, 166. 

Beirout, 21, 83. 

Beleth (Belbeis), town at end of 
kingdom of Aleppo (? confused 
with Baalbak), 23. 

Belian, Mount (the desert Bald- 
juna to the east of Lake Baikal), 

Belinas, see Dan. 

Bells, reason why Eastern Chris- 
tians dislike, 319. 

Beluacensis, Vincentius, Vincent 

de Beauvais, 213. 
Bendochdare, Soldan, 25. 
Benedict, Friar, a Polonian, 213. 
Benefices, sale of, 14. 
Bernakes, barnacle geese, 174, 354. 
Bersabee, town of Beersheba, 

founded by Bathsheba, 44. 
Berta, subject of Baatu, 302. 
Beruch (Beirout), 21, 83. 
Betemga, isle of, 125. 
Bethany, S. John Chrysostom 

buried at, 12; described, 64 sq. 
Bethe or Gethe (Yezd, or perhaps 

Isfahan), city of, 101. 
Bethel, Mt. Moriah, called, 57. 
Bethesda, pool of, 59. 
Bethlehem, described, 46 ; placed 

at two miles from Jerusalem, 49. 
Bethphage, 64. 
Bethsaida, 73. 
Bethshan, Saul's head hanged there, 


Betook, gave, 93. 
Betron (Buzrah), land of, 69. 
Bevoir, a lunch or collation, 345. 
Bezaleel, or Dozeleel, the Shadow 

of God, 40. 

Bezanzon, Bysantium, 7. 
Bible, relics of S. Jerome's transla- 
tion of, 47. 
Bigged, built, 65. 
Bigon, wine ofCassay, 136. 
Bills, written documents, 115. 
Bisermini, Tartar expedition 

against, 231, 247. 
Bithal, grandson of Chinghis Can, 


Blacians, Wallachians, 311. 
Blood-drinking, 129 sq. 
Bochar (El Bukaca), vale of, 82. 
Bodin, isle of, cannibalism in, 339. 
Bohemia, King of, aids Carpini, 


Bolac, village of, 315. 
Boleslaus, Duke of Slesia, helps 

Carpini, 239. 
Boleyne, Godfrey de, see Bouillon. 



Bononia (Bologna), compared to 

Caitan, 342. 
Bora, grandson of Chinghis Can, 

229 sq., 247. 
Boradin, soldan, 24. 
Botta, a Tartar headdress of bark, 

z 7 6. 
Boughs, bundles of, before door, 


Bougiers (Bulgaria), the land of, 7. 
Bouillon, Godfrey de, tomb of, 51. 
Boyturra (Bokhara), city of, 1 70. 
Brace, or arm, of St. George, 1 2, 

1 6. 

Bragman, isle of, its virtuous in- 
habitants, i.e. the Brahmans, 


Breeks, breeches, 34. 
Brice, S., feast of, 258. 
Bridges, in Canasia, 344 ; in Chil- 

enso, 346. 

Brigandines, body armour, 235. 
British Isles, not included in Man- 

deville's reckoning of the earth's 

surface, 124. 
Broilly, broiled, 72. 
Brook, suffer, endure, 309. 
Bugles, young bulls, 177. 
Bulgaria, wasted by Tartars, 232 ; 

Bulgaria Minor, 263 ; its people 

wicked Saracens, 304. See also 

Bougiers and Byleri. 
Burin, grandson of Chinghis Can, 

see Bora. 
Burithabeth, land of, conquered by 

Mongols, 227. 
Buscaylle, brushwood, 178. 
Bush, the burning, 40 sq. 
Byleri (Bulgarians), invaded by 

Tartars, 232, 246. 
Byzantines, bezants, gold coins, 

Byzantium, see Bezanzon. 

Cachas, soldan, 25. 
Cacho (KCIKOS), good angel, 206. 
Cadan, grandson of Chinghis Can, 
230, 247. 

Cadeberiz, the fools of wanhope, 


Caesar, Julius, his calendar, 52. 
Caesarea, city of, 22 : see also Dane. 
Caffolos, isle of, sick folk hanged 

in, 129. 
Caiaphas, the high priest, founded 

city of same name, 22 ; his gar- 
den, 1 1; his house, 61. 
Caido, or Gaydo, city, near Cam- 

baleth, 347 ; capital of Great 

Chan, 140, 157. 
Cailac, city of, 3 1 6. 
Cain, slays Abel on site of Damas- 
cus, 8i; slain by Lamech, 77. 
Cairo, caliph of Egypt dwells at, 

29 greater than Babylon, 31; 

slave-market, 33. 
Caitan or Zaiton (Chinchen ?), city 

of, in Manzi, described, 342. 
Cakam, city of pygmies, 346. 
Calahelyke (the citadel El-Kalah), 

dwelling of soldan, 23. 
Calamye (Mailapur), city of, S. 

Thomas buried at, 115. 
Calcas (Carki), isle of, 12. 
Caldilhe (PCorea), land of, its 

strange fruits, 174. 
Caliste (Thera), isle of, 12. 
Calonad (Champa, part of S. Cochin 

China), isle of, described, 127 sq. 
Calvary, Mt., 51. 
Camaka, a thick silk, 26, 1 17, 152. 
Cambile, spice, 45. 
Camels, used in deserts, 39. 
Camles, chameleons, little beasts 

like goats, 171. 
Campa (Cochin China), kingdom 

of, 337- 

Can, a name of authority, 299. 
Can of Cathay, see Cathay, Can of. 
Cana of Galilee, 74. 
Canapac, name for Egypt, 2 3 sq. 
Canapos, star, 198. 
Canasia (Hang-chow), the city of 

heaven, 343 (cp. Cassay). 
Cancer, sign of, 29. 
Canell, cinnamon, 129. 



Canes, bamboos, 127, 336. 
Cangle, land of, 311. 
Cannibalism, 120, 129, 130, 132, 
187 sq., 204, 227, 263, 323, 

334, 33 8 339- 
Canow, town of, Carpini arrives 

at, 240. 

Caparisons, for horses, 235. 
Capernaum, city of, 78. 
Caphon (Ispahan), city, 1 70. 
Cappadocia, 85. 

Capthac, Comanians called, 288. 
Cara-catayans, see Kara-catayans. 
Caracosmos, black cosmos, 272 sq. 
Carak, hill, 70. 

Caramoron (Hoang-ho), river, 1 39. 
Carbuncle, belonging to Great 

Chan, 157 (cp. 338). 
Carmel, hill of, 21. 
Carmelites, order of the, 2 1 . 
Carpate (Scarpanto), isle of, 12. 
Carpini, John de Piano, 213 ; 

Rubruks, allusion to, 305. 
Carriages, slower travelling by, 

than on horseback, 264. 
Carrier-pigeons, used in warfare, 


Carthage, founded by Dido. 

Carts, description of the Tartar, 

Casan, province called, 354. 

Caspian, mountains of the, 178. 

Cassan, bamboos, 336. 

Cassan (Kashan), in India, magi 
met at, 47, 101 (cp. 328). 

Cassaria, province of, 262. 

Cassay (Hang-chow), the city of 
heaven (cp. Canasia). 

Casson (Singanfu), isle of, 202. 

Cataie, see Cathay, 
concern about, 192. 

Cathailye (Satalia), legend of, 19. 

Catharine, S., beheaded at Alex- 
andria, 38 ; her shrine at Mount 
Sinai, 38, 40 sq. ; mountain of, 
42 sq. 

Cathay, described, 139 sqq.; divid- 
ed into twelve provinces, 159 ; 

richer than land of Prester John, 
1 78 ; uncleanly manner of eat- 
ing in, 144 ; conquered by 
Chinghis, 224 ; religion of, 225 ; 
inhabitants in old time called 
Seres, 325. 

Cathay, Can of, Babel in his 
dominion, 28 ; defeated by King 
of Java, 126, 335; Turkey held 
from, 87; desires King of Na- 
cumera's jewel, 131 (cp. 358); 
protects pygmies, 1 38; provinces 
under, 139; his palace, 140 sq., 
348; his wives, 141 sq. ; his 
table, 142; his clerks, 142; his 
feasts, 142 sq., 349 sq., 151 sq., 
352 sq.; why so called, 145 sq.; 
his journeys, 157, 350; extent 
of his dominion, 1 69 ; manner 
of burying, 1 66 ; mode of elect- 
ing, 1 67 ; kings of Casson and 
Ryboth hold of, 202 sq. 

Cats, or catkins, the bloom of nut- 
trees, 113. 

Cattle, held in common, 324. 

Cautels, craftinesses, 179. 

Caveat, warning, 237. 

Caydon, city of, see Caido. 

Cayphas, city of, 22, 86. 

Cebsite, city of, once called Alex- 
andria, 105. 

Centurio's house, 78. 

Cergis, see Kergis. 

Ceuskalon (Canton), city of, Man- 
deville's Latorin, described, 341. 

Chaldea, a full great kingdom, 29 ; 
its extent, 173 ; described, 102 
sq., 329 sqq. 

Cham, or Ham, the son of Noah, 
his descendants, 145. 

Chamberer, concubine, 69. 

Chameleon, see Camles. 

Champion, champaign, open coun- 
try, 265. 

Ghana (Thana), isle of, off the 
coast, near Bombay, its wonders, 
I IO sqq. 

Changuys, see Chinghis Can. 



Changlae, people near Caspian Sea, 


Channel, land of, 86. 
Chanyl, city of, in Karacathay, 

built by Occoday Can, 223. 
Charge, give no charge, have no 

concern about, 192. 
Chariot of Great Chan, 158, 350. 
Charlemagne, brings relics to Paris, 


Chess, played by Soldan, 25. 
Chestnuts, plentiful in Casan, 354. 
Chickens hatched by incubators in 

Egypt, 33- 
Chienetout (Gemlok), gate, i.e. 

port of, 1 6. 
Children, mothers' grief when they 

are born, 189. 
Childed, given birth, 89. 
Chilenfo (Nanking), city of, 137; 

its bridges, 346. 
Chingay, an interpreter, 257. 
Chinghis Can, account of, 146 sq., 

222 sq. ; his apologue on his 
deathbed, 149; his campaigns, 

223 sqq. ; orders Tartar army, 
234 sq. ; his commands to Tar- 
tars, 253; a blacksmith, 300; 
his children, 313. 

Chintok (Gemlok), port of, 85. 

Chorazim, Antichrist to be born 
at, 74. 

Chotaz (Caucasus), Mt., the highest 
in the world, 169. 

Chrism, Rubruk's box of, sent to 
Sartach, 297. 

Christians, balm unfruitful if not 
tended by, 34 ; their belief in 
omens, 1 1 1 sq.; at Court of the 
Great Chan, 1 56, 3 50 ; should be 
more devout, 1 72 ; Tartars refuse 
to be called, 298 ; in Canasia, 344. 

Christopher, St., size of his image, 
318,332, 342. 

Chydydo, name of Cathayan 
couriers, 160. 

Chyrinen, grandson of Chinghis 
Can, 229 sq. 

Circumcision, relic of Christ's, 5 5 ; 
period of, 69. 

Circumnavigation of the world, 
122 sq. 

Cities of the Plain, 68, 103. 

Clarity, illumination, enlighten- 
ment, 90. 

Clement, S., martyred at Kersova, 

Clepen, call, 30 ; clept, called, 3. 

Clicket, a kind of latch-key, 137. 

Climate, one of the seven climates 
of the earth answering to the 
planets, 109, 124. 

Close, close-keeping, 119. 

Clothes, given to Rubruk, 310: see 
also Dress. 

Cloud, separating two armies, 228. 

Clouts, small clothes, 75. 

Clyron, strait place called (possibly 
Deilem on the Caspian shore), 

Coboghe, Tartar nation or lineage 
of, 146. 

Cobyla (Kubla) Can, 150. 

Cockodrills, crocodiles, 113, 131, 

Cocten, grandson of Chinghis 
Can, 229. 

Coel, King, father of St. Helena, 9. 

Coiak, a noble of Sartach's court, 
294 sqq. 

Coif, head-dress, 277. 

Colan, asses, Rubruk's guide pur- 
sues, 313. 

Colcos, isles of, 1 7. 

Collos, name for Rhodes, 18. 

Colopeus, King of Amazonia, 104. 

Comange, Comania, 12. 

Comania, held by King of Hun- 
gary, 7 ; kingdom of, described, 
1 68; Carpini passes through, 
243, 246. 

Comanians, revolt of, in Egypt, 
24; expel Guytoga, 25; fugi- 
tives from Tartars, 265 ; funeral 
customs of, 280 ; Chinghis 
wars against, 225. 

2 A 



Combar, forest of, 112. 
Comum (see Cornaa), 328. 
Con, know, 6. 

Con Can, of Kara-Catay, 299. 
Confession, Jacobite view of, 79 

sq., in Cathay, 163. 
Conradus, Duke of Lautiscia, helps 

Carpini, 239. 
Constantine, Emperor of Rome, 


Constantinople, described, 7 sqq. 
Constantinople, Emperor of, 15, 

^ 52- 

Contomanes, people called, 3 1 6. 

Cop, top, 12. 

Corage, desire, 99. 

Cordynes (Kurds), people called, 

Cornaa (Kinara, Persepolis), city 
of, its size, 101 ; Odoric's 
Comum, 328. 

Corrensa, Tartar duke, receives 
Carpini, 241 sq., 259. 

Cosmas, a Russian goldsmith, helps 
Carpini in Tartary, 256. 

Cosmos, fermented mares' milk, 
koumiss, 270, 272 sq. ; causes 
sweating, 283; Eastern Chris- 
tians abjure, 284 sqq., 287 ; 
given as a mark of honour, 


Coston (Kous ?), in Egypt, 31. 
Cotton, 190. 

Counted, told, recounted, 122. 
Couriers, relays of, in Cathay, 159, 


Covenable, suitable, 80. 

Covetise, covetousness, 5* 

Cozrodan (Khorasan or Persia), 
land of (confused with Arab 
tribe of the Koraish), Mahomet, 
Governor of, 94. 

Cracow, Duke of, helps Carpini, 

Cracurim, a proper town, 2 1 4. 
Crete, isle of, given by the 

Emperor to Genoa, 17. 
Critige or Oertige, isle of, 12. 

Cross, figure of, in apples of 
Paradise, 33 Great Chan's 
veneration for, 160, 360. 

Cross, of Christ, founded by S. 
Helena, 52 ; at Constantinople, 
not at Cyprus, 8 ; trees of which 
it was made, 8 sqq. 

Crosses, borne in Prester John's 
army, 181. 

Crucifix, not used by Armenians 
or Nestorians, 296. 

Crues (Hormuz), isle of, its heat, 

Cruk (Korgo), lordship of, 98. 

Cubebs, peppery spice, 335. 

Culver, dove, of Noah, 9 ; carrier 
pigeon, 79. 

Cumant, ten thousand, 138, 156 : 
see also Thuman. 

Cunocephale, the dog-headed race 
in the Nicobar islands, 130. 

Cusis, name of Ethiopia. 

Cuyne, Emperor of Tartar, 229 ; 
Carpini comes to, 248. 

Cylours, canopies, 157. 

Cyncilium, see Zinglantz. 

Cyngis, see Chinghis. 

Cypron (Oedenburg), 7. 

Cyprus, cross of Dismas at, 8 ; 
vines of, 19; description of, 19 
sq. ; stopping place for pilgrims, 
84; diamonds found at, 106. 

Cyropolis, name of Bethshan, 75. 

Cyrpodan, Tartar duke, his ex- 
pedition, 233. 

Cyrus, King of Persia, destroys 
Babylon, 27. 

Daboga, name for flesh ; another 
reading makes Chardaboga a 
name of the city of Bethe, 101. 

Dain, city of, 100. 

Daire (Ayre), castle of, 23. 

Dalay (Yang-tsze-keang), river, 

Daldilus, King, 330. 

Dalfetides, Lake, name of Dead 
Sea, 68. 


Dalida (Delilah), Samson's para- 
mour, 22. 

Damascus, 2 1 ; description of, 8 1 sq. 

Damascus, field of, at Hebron, 45. 

Damianus de Portu Gruaro, 362. 

Damietta, in Egypt, 31, 38. 

Dance, of chief men of Cathay, 
247 ; as a sign of welcome, 315 

Dandrenople (Adrianople), 7. 

Dane, that sometime was clept 
Bethe, or Caesarea Philippi, 78. 

Daniel, Duke of Russia, absent 
when Carpini arrives, 239 ; 
welcomes him on his return, 

Daniel, the prophet, at Susa, 29. 

Danilon, weakness of its inhabi- 
tants, 239. 

Danube, the river, 7. 

Daristan (Silistria), realm of, 87. 

Darkness, perpetual, in land of 
Hanyson, 171. 

Dates, Moses finds for Israelites, 39. 

David, King, born at Bethlehem, 
48 ; vision of angels, 57 sq. 

David, illegitimate son of King of 
Georgia, 219. 

Dead Sea, the, 67. 

Dead Sea, in isle of Pathen, 127, 


Dearth, foretold by flames of Etna, 


Deceased brother's wife, marriage 
with, 219. 

Defendeth, forbids, 161; defended, 
forbade, 76. 

Defoul, pollute, 93. 

Degrees, steps, 13. 

Deliverly, nimbly, 20. 

Demed, condemned, 46. 

Demesier (Damanhur), province of 
Egypt, 31-. 

Depainted, painted, 183. 

Departed, separated, divided, 10, 

Derbent (Persian Dar-band, bar- 
rier), passage from Comania to 

Ind, where Alexander built his 

iron gates, 169, 293, 302. 
Dere, hurt, 1 1 . 

Destrier, war horse, 158, 191. 
Deurum, soldan, vanquished by 

Tartars, 234. 
Devil's Head, 185. 
Diacosyn, symbol for 900, in Greek 

alphabet, 15. 
Diamonds, of Ind, 105 ; virtues 

of, 1 06 sq. ; means to detect 

counterfeit, 107 sq. 
Diana, turns daughter of Ypocras, 

lord of Lango, into a dragon, 

Dido, foundress of Carthage, 21, 


Dieu, name for blood, 129. 
Dinah, Jacob's daughter, 71. 
Dirpe, Abraham's oak at Mamre, 

identified with the Dry Tree, 


Disemboqueth, discharges, 293. 
Dishonesty, unchastity, 217. 
Dismas, the penitent thief, cross of, 

at Cyprus, 8, 19. 
Disperpleth, scatters, 5. 
Dive-doppers, fish-catching birds, 


Do, cause, 18. 
Dogs, monstrous, 303 sq. ; people 

with heads like, or resembling, 

130, 226, 233, 246, 338. 
Dolven, embedded in, 42. 
Don, River, 243 : see also Tanais. 
Dondun, isle of, cannibalism in, 


Doomsday, season of, 77. 
Double Spelunk, Abraham's tomb, 

at Hebron, 45. 
Dozoleel, see Bezaleel. 
Dragon, daughter of Ypocras, lord 

of Lango, transformed into, 

17 aq. 
Dragons and serpents near Tower 

of Babel, 27. 
Drench, drown, 78. 
Dress, direct, 202. 



Dress, notes of, 26, 93, 152, 162, 
352, 216, 250, 275, 291, 310, 

3*3, 3*9- 
Drinking customs, of the Tartars, 


Drink-offerings, 269. 
Drunkenness, regarded as an excuse 

for crime, 315. 
Dry Tree, the, identified with 

Abraham's oak at Mamre, 45 sq. 
Dubbed, set with, 152, 158. 
Dung, used as fuel, 87, 168, 


Duras (Durazzo), city of, 38, 84. 
Dure, last, endure, 28, 39. 
Dutchmen, i.e. Germans, at city of 

Talas, 315. 
Dwarfs, 134, 196. 

Ears, folk with monstrous, 1 34. 
Earth, demonstration of its round- 
ness, 120 sqq., size of, 123 sq. 
Eating, manner of, in Cyprus, 20 ; 

in Cathay, 144. 
Ecchecha (Ogotai), Can, 150. 
Edessa, body of S. Thomas once 

at, 115. 
Edward I., King of England, 

invades Syria, 25. 
Eels, in river Ind, 108. 
Eft, again, 1 1 . 
Eftsoons, quickly, 137. 
Eglantine, Christ crowned with, 

Egypt, kingdom of, 23 sq., 30 sq.; 

its armed forces, 25. 
Egyptian alphabet, 36. 
Eldegay, agent of Baatu, 244. 
Elephants, 131, 158, 250; use of 

in warfare, 128; of King of 

Campa, 337. 
Eliezer, Abraham's servant, founder 

of Damascus, 8 1 . 
Elijah, on Carmel; 21 ; raises 

widow's son, ib. ; chapel of, on 

Mount Sinai, 42. 
Elisha, 66 ; St. John Baptist buried 

nigh, 71. 

Elizabeth, S., 62. Elphy (Melik 
el-Mansoor Kalaoon), Soldan of 
Egypt, 25. 

Emeralds, cheap in Egypt, 33. 

Emlak, name for Upper India, 105. 

Emmaus, castle of, 62. 

Enchanters, at Court of Great 
Chan, 155, 353. 

Engeddi, land of, 67. 

Enleved, embossed, 126. 

Enombre, earshadow, shroud, 3, 92. 

Enonch-balse, name of a wood 
where balus grows, 34. 

Enydros, water-pot, at Constanti- 
nople, 12. 

Ephesus, tomb of S. John Evan- 
gelist at, 1 6. 

Ephraim, a great clerk, 29. 

Ephrata, 46. 

Epilmon, episema, the symbol for 
6 in the Greek alphabet, 15. 

Equius, village named, 3 1 6. 

Ere, plough, 48. 

Erzeroum, 99. 

Ethiopia, 105; extent of, 173; 
subdued by Chinghis Can, 225. 

Ethille (Etilia, Volga), river, 168, 

Etna, Mount, its fires foretell 

dearth, 37. 

Euphrates, River, 27, 200 sq. 
Eurache, Tartar nation or lineage 

of, 146. 
Eustace, S., 85. 
Everych, everyone, each, 40. 
Exonerate, discharge, 243, 314. 
Eye, people with only one, 133; 

eyes in shoulders, 134. 
Eysell, vinegar, 8. 

Fairy fruit, 1 80. 

Falling evil or sickness, epilepsy, 
cured by wood of the Dry Tree, 
46; Mahomet, subject to, 95. 

Famagosta, in Cyprus, 19, 84. 

Family, household, 252. 

Fanaticism, Indian, 1 16 sq., 333 sq. 

Farcasting, clever, contriving, 142. 



Farde, or Faro (of Messina), pas- 
sage, 37. 

Farfar or Farphar (Orontes), bridge 
and water of, 86 : see also Feme. 

Fasting, in Greek church, 14 sq. 

Feasts, made at inns, 139, 346 ; of 
the Great Chan, I 5 I sq., 352 sq. 

Feet, women with small, 205, 356. 

Feme (Orontes), River, 85; city 
of (Ilgun), 86 : see also Farfar. 

Fertre, bier, palanquin, 40, 147. 

Fiends, lie with women, 145. 

Figs, of Pharaoh, 33. 

Fire, purification by, 163, 22Osq.; 
fires perfumed when Can passes, 
359 ; taxes on, 344. 

Firmament, division of the, 1 24. 

Fish, caught by loirs, 136; in the 
Gravelly Sea, 180; who come 
to be caught, 128 sq., 337; 
caught by dive-doppers, 343. 

Fladriene (Flandrina), city of, 112, 


Flagram, land of, in Syria, 86. 

Flaxon (? Naxos), isle of, 12. 

Flom, river, 66. 

Florach, castle of, in Asia Minor, 

Floridus, field of, at Bethlehem, 46. 

Folily, foolishly, 91. 

Food, notes of, 164, 216,271,312; 
see also Cannibalism. 

Foot, folk with only one, 105; 
counterfeit of, worn by wives as 
a headdress, 142, 349. 

Forcelets, strongholds, 31. 

Forme father, first father, 4. 

Former, matter, 4. 

Formest, earliest, 199. 

Fornication, Greek view of, 14; 
miracle of maiden condemned 
for, 46 ; punishment of, 218. 

Forthinketh, repents, 200. 

Foss, or ditch, of Mennon, 22. 

Found with, supplied, 39. 

Fox, that shall shew Jews of Cas- 
pian Mountains a way to escape, 


France, relics of Christ preserved 

in, 10. 
Friars, in Janzu, 346 ; able to cast 

out devils, 357 sq. 
Friars Minorite, Franciscans, 213; 

at Great Chan's court, 350. 
Friars Praedicant, Dominicans. 
Friuli, Odoric born there, 326. 
Froteth, rubs, 40. 
Fructuous, fruitful, 4. 
Fruit, given to Great Chan, 160, 

360 ; of faerie, 180 ; bearing a 

little beast like a lamb, 174, 353. 
Frussch, rush, 155. 
Fulfille, black pepper, 113. 
Funeral customs and rites, 112, 

114, 118, 129, 132, 166, 203, 

227, 233, 280, 321, 323, 355. 
Fynepape (Philippolis), city of, 7. 

Gabbers, cheats. 

Gabriel, speaks with Mahomet, 95 ; 

well of, at Nazareth, 75. 
Gadrige (Kadija), Mahomet's wife, 


Gaius, see Caesar, Julius. 

Galilee, Mount, 65 ; province of, 


Galiot, helmet, 160. 
Gallamelle, Mohammedan drink, 

9 6. 

Ganges, river, see Pison. 
Garantez, some dark-coloured gem, 


Gardens in Egypt, bear fruit seven 
times a year, 33. 

Garners of Joseph, 35. 

Gasarians, in the city of Orna, 232. 

Gascony, miles of, 78 sq. 

Gate of Hell, city called by mis- 
translation, see Hell. 

Gatholonabes (Senex de Monte), 
his mock Paradise, 183. 

Gaydo, residence of Great Chan, 
see Caido. 

Gaza, city of the Philistines, 22. 

Gebel (Djibld), city of, 86. 

Geen, see Genoa. 



Geese, of Latorin, 135 ; rejected 
as food, 190; red, 192; two- 
headed, 339 ; m va ^ e f Ceuska- 
lon, 341. 

Genoa or Geen, relics of S. John 
Baptist at, 72 ; place of call, 84 
sq.; Genoese given isle of Crete, 
17; see also Greaf. 

Genuflections to soldan, 26. 

Geomancy, divination by earth, 

George, S., Brace or Arm of, 12, 

1 6; slays dragon at Beirout, 83; 

church of, where he was beheaded, 

84; Georgians, his converts, 

66, 80. 
Georgia, kingdom of, its limits, 

170; conquered by Tartars, 234; 

Georgians, converts of S. George, 

66, 80; their creed, 80 ; children 

of the king of, 219. 
Gerfalcons, of the" Great Chan, 


Gerfaunts, beasts called, 191. 
Geste, city near Sea of Sand, 328. 
Gethsemane, 63 sq. 
Ghost, spirit, 1 1 . 
Giants, 187 sq. 
Gibilet (Djebeil), city of, 86. 
Gilboa, hills of, 74. 
Girding, men of, name of Eastern 

Christians, 81. 
Gisarmes, halberds, 26, 
Gison (Gyson) or Nile, R., 29, 200 

sq. ; see also Nile. 
Gledes, hawks, 203. 
Golbache (Cambay in Guzerat), 

city of, 179. 
Gold, hills of, 198 sq. 
Gold-digging, 315. 
Golden Gate, at Jerusalem, 54. 
Golgotha, 51. 
Goset, companion of Rubruk, 265, 


Goshen, land of, 31. 
Gout artetykes, arthritic gout, 

Mandeville's, 208. 
Granges, farms, 273, 

Gravel, of Foss of Mennon, 22. 

Gravelly Sea, 1 80 ; or Sea of Sand, 

Greaf (Corfu), isle of, that is at 
Genoa (a mistranslation for 'be- 
longs to the Genoese'), 38. 

Gree, taketh to, receives gladly, 195. 

Greece, Emperor of, 7. 

Greecings, steps, 143. 

Greek Christians, their belief, 1 3 ; 
their answer to Pope John XXII., 

Grees, steps, 141. 

Greet, wept, 90. 

Grenaz, garnet, 143. 

Griffins, 177. 

Gry'ut, dried curds of milk, 273 ; 
made by women, 277. 

Guetelus, notary, 361. 

Guido, governor of Trebizond, 

Guidotus, rev. father, 361. 

Guybalse, name for liquor from 
balm-trees, 34. 

Guytoga (Melik el-'Adil Ketboog- 
ha), soldan of Egypt, 25. 

Gybelle, Mt., name of Mt. Etna, 

Gynosophe (Gymnosophistae, the 

naked philosophers of India), 

isle of, 1 94. 
Gyson, see Gison. 

Hailstorm, in Tartary, 215. 

Hair, Tartar mode of cutting, 276; 
people with little, 135 ; hairy 
people, 196. 

Halaon, brother of Mango Can, 

Halvendel, half, part, 1 1 1 . 

Ham, Noah's son, see Cham. 

Hamese, name for diamonds, 106. 

Hanyson, the Land of Darkness, 
S. of Caucasus, 171. 

Haran, Abraham's father dwells at, 

Hare, ill meeting with, 1 1 1 ; re- 
jected as food, 190. 



Harme, Saracen name for wine, 

48 ; name for the Koran, 89. 
Hawking, use of by Tartars, 274. 
Headless people, I 34. 
Hebrew alphabet, 73. 
Hebron, city of, 44 ; distance from 

Jerusalem, 49. 
Helena, S., finds the true cross, 10, 

52 ; brings S. Anne's body to 

Constantinople, 1 1. 
Heling, covering, 162. 
Heliopolis, city of the sun, in 

Egypt, 32- 

Hell, entry to from volcanoes, 37; 

from Vale Perilous, 185. 
Hell, Gate of, in Caucasus range, 

i.e. the Iron Gate (by misreading 

of de fer for d'enfer), 1 69. 
Hellespont, 12. 
Hens, featherless, bearing wool, 

136, 342; rejected as food, 


Hercules, worship of, no. 
Hermaphrodites, 134. 
Hermes, city of, 1 79. 
Hermit, of Egypt, legend of, 32. 
Hermits, Mahomet's, friendship 

with, 94, 95. 
Hermogenes, prophecy of Christ 

written on a plate of gold above 

his body, 13. 
Herod, King, legend of, 59 ; three 

Herods distinguished, 60. 
Hiberi, people called Suevi or, 

Hiberia, a province of Georgia, 

262 sq. 

Hiderward, thenceforward, 18. 
High Hill, the, near Tripoli, 


Hight, was called, 21. 
Hilarion, S., tomb of, in Cyprus, 


Hippotaynes, hippopotamuses, 177. 
Hircan (Caspian) Sea, 302. 
Holy Ghost, Procession of the, 


Honestly, becomingly, 32. 

Horda, see Orda. 

Horeb, place called on Mt. Sinai, 

Horn, carried by married women, 
343 ; horned men, 150. 

Horologes, timepieces, 153. 

Horses, white, presents to Great 
Chan, 155. 

Horses' feet, folk with, 1 34. 

Horseback, women ride astride, 

Horseleeches, 339. 

Hospitallers, of S. John, at Rhodes, 
18; at Jerusalem, 54; their 
charnel, 62. 

Housel, receive the Eucharist, 

Houses, of Tartars, 266 sq. 

Hubilai, Tartar duke, 230. 

Hudirat, land of, 224. 

Huini, 214. 

Hungary, King of, 6 ; Tartar in- 
vasion of, 232. 

Hungarian Clerks, their kindness 
to Rubruk, 308 ; he copies ser- 
vice-books for them, 309. 

Huns, Isidore's account of, 310 sq. 

Hunting, Great Chan's, 351 sq. 

Hurin, grandson of Chinghis Can's, 

Hus (Uz), land of, 328. 

Huyri, people called, 224. 

Hydromancy, divination by water, 

lace, River, in Russia, 243. 

lase, ships made of hemp called, 

Ibes, sikonies clept, 30. 

Ice, traffic over, 88. 

Idols, definition of, no ; children 

slain before, 1 1 4; fed with smoke, 

136, 342; offerings to, 162; 

feasts of the Tartar, 151 sq. ; 

made naked, 165 ; of women's 

hair, 358. 
Ilac, another name for Blacians or 

Wallachs, 311. 



Images, painted, at Alexandria, 
whitened out by Saracens, 38 ; 
use of in Christian churches, 
206; images of men employed 
in war, 225 sq. ; images in 
Tartar households, 268 sq., 321 

Immortality, Tartar belief as to, 


Incubators, for chickens in Egypt, 

Ind, priests of, at Jerusalem, 53 ; 

balm grows in, 34 ; description 

of, 105 sq.; description of islands 

about, 1 08 sqq., 340. 
India Minor (Ethiopia), subdued 

by Chinghis Can, 225. 
Inns, excellence of in wilderness of 

Achelleke, 23 ; in Cathay, 159. 

351 ; private feasts at, 139, 346, 
Innocent IV., sends friars to Tar- 

tary, 213. 
Innocents, charnel of, at Bethlehem, 

Instruments, furniture of a camel, 

Intelligence, system of in Tartary, 

i59 35 1 - 

Interpreter, Rubruk's, 290, 306. 
Iron, not to be used in cutting 

balm trees, 34 ; magic stones, a 

protection against, 336. 
Isaac, 69. 

Isaiah, buried at Siloam, 62. 
Ishmael, 69. 

Isidore, quoted, 303, 310. 
Izonge, city of, in Cathay, 150. 

Jabbok, River, 69. 

Jacob, his vision, 57. 

Jacobites, their creed, 79. 

Jaffa, or Joppa, port of, 21 ; dis- 
tance from Jerusalem, 49. 

Jagac, river, falls into Caspian Sea, 

Jamchay, city of, its wealth, 1 38 sq. 

James, S., born at Saffre, 22 ; 
pinnacle whence he was thrown, 

5 8 ; tomb of, 64 ; pilgrimage to 
his shrine at Compostella, com- 
pared with Indian pilgrimages, 
n6(cp. 333). 

Janzu, city of, its revenues, 346. 

Japhet, founds Jaffa, 21. 

Java, description of, 125, 334 sq. 

Jebus, name for Jerusalem, 49. 

Jehosaphat, king, tomb of, 64. 

Jehosaphat, vale of, 53, 60, 63, 77. 

Jericho, distance from Jerusalem, 


Jerome, tomb of, at Bethlehem, 47. 
Jeroslaus, Duke of Russia, 250 sq., 


Jerusalem, the centre of the world, 
3, 53, 122; ways to, 6, 16, 20; 
described, 49 sqq. 

Jesus Christ, relics of his passion, 
8-1 1, 20 sq., 50 sqq., 78; Greek 
belief as to his eating, 1 5 
well made by his feet, 34 ; age, 
51 sq. ; saying of, 56; rock on 
which he preached, 57 sq. ; his 
temptation, 66, 70 ; baptism, 
69 ; place of the Leap of our 
Lord, 75 ; Mahommedan belief 
as to, 89 sq. ; his incarnation 
prophesied, 13, 196. 

Jews, sold by Vespasian thirty a 
penny, 5 5 ; Mahommedan belief 
as to, 90, 92; plot to L oison 
Christians, 126; enclosed in 
mountains of the Caspian, 175 ; 
how they shall escape, 176; with 
shaven heads, 246. 

Jezabel, the cursed queen, 74. 

Jezreel, that sometime was clept 
Zarim, 74. 

Joachim, tomb of, at Jerusalem, 

Job, tomb of, 69 ; well called after, 

72 ; land of, 101 sq., 328; story 
of, 102; God's love for, 195. 
John XXII. Pope, letters to Greek 
Christians, 13; Odoric deter- 
mines to present himself before, 




John, lord of Yaymen, 299 sq. 

John Baptist, S., martyrdom and 
burial, 60, 71 ; relic of, 72 ; 
knights of, see Hospitallers. 

John Chrysostom, S., body of, at 
Constantinople, 12; originally 
buried at Bethany, 1 2 ; left arm 
at Church of S. Saviour at Jeru- 
salem, 60. 

John Evangelist, S., at Patmos, 16; 
tomb of, at Ephesus, 1 6 ; vine 
of, 42. 

John, Prester, see Prester John. 

Jonas, the widow's son, raised by 
Elijah, 21. 

Jonks, rushes, 10. 

Joppa, see Jaffa. 

Joram, king, 74. 

Jordan, river, 69 sq. 

Joseph the Patriarch, dwelt at 
Babylon, 23; his garners in 
Egypt, 35 ; tomb at Sichem, 
71 ; place of his sale, 71. 

Joseph, husband of the B. Virgin, 


Joseph of Arimathea, 53, 60. 

Joshua, 65. 

Joy, Mount, two miles from Jeru- 
salem, 63; Samuel buried there, 
63, 84. 

Judaea, called after Judas Macca- 
baeus, 49. 

Judas Iscariot, tree on which he 
hanged himself, 62; legend as to 
his crucifixion instead of Christ, 

Judas Maccabaeus, 49, 84. 

Jugglers, at court of Great Chan, 

155, 353- 
Jugures, idolaters, their rites, 307 

Julian, S., that men clepe to for 

good harbourage, 65. 
Julian Apostate, encourages the 

Jews, 55 ; insults body of S. 

John Baptist, 71 sq. 
Justinian, Emperor, image of, at 

Constantinople, 7. 

Kadac, an interpreter, 257. 

Kadija, see Gadrige. 

Kalends, the first day of a month, 

*6 3 . 

Kalo (KaXos), good angel, 206. 
Kalor, kingdom of, 353. 
Kangittae, land of, 246 sq. 
Kapsei, mountains in kingdom of 

Kalor, 353. 
Karacathay, kingdom of, 223, 299, 


Karanites, county of, 224. 
Karavoran, river, 347. 
Karemen, city of Media, 170. 
Karicarba, Hebron, 45. 
Karitot, S., prolonged grief of his 

monks for, 49. 
Karua, cave of, 67. 
Ken Can, Friar Andrew at his 

court, 300 ; letters of King of 

France to, 305. 
Kergis, land of, Chinghis marches 

against, 227 ; subdued, 233 ; 

people called Cergis, 293. 
Kerra, Kerra, call to arms, 


Kersis, skins from, 275. 
Kersova, S. Clement, martyred at, 


Khorasan, kingdom of, 168. 
Kidron, the Brook, Torrens Ced- 

ron, 63. 
Kind, nature, 68 ; kindly, natural, 

King, election and treatment of in 

an unnamed isle, 1 89. 
Kiow, in Russia, besieged by Tar- 
tars, 232 ; Carpini arrives at, 

239; returns to, 259. 
Kishon, brook of, 74. 
Knave, adj. boy, 104. 
Knees, folk who walk on, 1 34. 
Knives, of flint or sharp bone, 34 ; 

superstitions as to, 163, 220: 

see also Iron. 
Knowledge, acknowledge, confess, 

Koran, see Alkaron. 



Kosan, city of, 354. 
Kythay, see Cathay. 

Lachin (Melik el-Mansor Lageen), 

soldan of Egypt, 25. 
Lacuth (Laodicaea), city of, 86. 
Lake, a bottomless, 127; from 

Adam's tears, full of pearls, 131; 

full of precious stones, 339; in 

Great Chan's grounds, 348: see 

also Vivary. 
Lamary (Sumatra), evil customs 

used in the isle of, 119, 334. 
Lamb, fruit bearing a little beast 

like a, 174, 353. 
Lamech, slays Cain, 77. 
Lammori, see Lamary. 
Lamp, miraculous election of Abbot 

by, 41 ; in Church of Holy 

Sepulchre, 50. 

Land held in common, 119, 334. 
Langa or Solanga, people of, 323. 
Lango, island of, legend, 17. 
Lanterine, land of, 139. 
Lanyers, lanier hawks, 156. 
Lap, gather, 277. 
Last, perform, 166. 
Latorin (Canton), chief city of 

Manzi, 135 : see also Ceuskalon. 
Law, creed, 155, 203. 
Layay (Lajazzo), city of, 98. 
Leap of our Lord, 75. 
Leather money, 156. 
Lebanon, hills of. 
Legs, men with jointless, 223. 
Leits, lightnings, 87. 
Leman, lover, concubine, 18, 48. 
Lemne (Lemnos), shadow of Mt. 

Athos on, 1 2. 
Lemons, juice made of, specific 

against cockodrills, 113 (see 

Snails), 132; against horse- 
leeches, 339. 
Lency, city of, 347. 
Leo, Emperor, brings S. Mark's 

bones to Venice, 38. 
Lesgi, Saracens called, 293. 
Let, caused, 61. 

Lettered, educated, 90. 

Letters, Mongals receive use of, 224. 

Letting, hindrance, 172. 

Leve, leave, reject, 144. 

Lever, rather, 20. 

Lewd, uneducated, ignorant, 93, 

Libra, sign of, 30. 

Lieve, believe, 144. 

Lightning, causes need for purifi- 
cation, 221. 

Ligier, ambassador. 

Lignum aloes, a manner of wood 
that cometh out of Paradise ter- 
restrial, 38, 142 ; Great Chan's 
chariot made of, 158. 

Lion, cave of the, 62 sq. 

Lion, sign of the, 29. 

Lions, as great as oxen, 132. 

Lips, folk with monstrous, 1 34. 

List, pleasure, 34. 

Lists, palisaded space, 250. 

Lobassy, pope of the religion of 
Cathay, 203. 

Lodesmen, pilots, 179. 

Lode-star, 120 sqq. 

Loerances, description of beasts 
called, 191. 

Loirs, fish-catching beasts, 136. 

Lomb, land of, 112. 

Lombardy, short miles of, 37, 38, 

Longemaath, city of, near Tarsus, 

Lot, grave of, near Hebron, 45 ;' 
dwells at Zoar, 68 ; his wife, 

Louis, S., King of France, defeated 
in Egypt, 24 ; Rubruk's Journal 
addressed to, 261 ; letters of, de- 
livered to Sartach, 296 ; to 
Baatu, 306. 

Lozels, rascals, 289. 

Luke, S., learns physic from S. 
Paul, 82. 

Lybia, described, 97. 

Lybici, 173. 

Lyson, Mt., in Mesopotamia, 173. 



Mabaron (Coromandel), country 

clept, 115. 

Maccabees, graves of, 84. 
Macedonia, diamonds found in, 

1 06. 
Macharim, by the Dead Sea, S. 

John Baptist beheaded at, 71. 
Magi, their names, etc., 47 sq. ; 

meet at Cassak (Cassan), 101, 

328; one of them King of 

Saba, 105 ; another King of 

Tarse, 168. 
Mahomet, buried at Mecca, 28 ; 

why he forbade the use of wine, 

48, 95 ; account of, 94 sqq. 
Mahommedan religion, account of, 

89 sqq. 
Mailbeins, vale of, in Asia Minor, 

8 5 . 

Mamre, vale of, 44 sq. 

Mancherule, court of Chinghis 
Can in, 301. 

Mancy (Manzi, S. China), king- 
dom of, 135, 341 ; capitals of, 
'36, 137, 341 sq. ; Mandeville 
serves against the king of, 144. 

Mandeville, Sir John, born at St. 
Alban's, passes the sea in 1322, 
extent of his travels, 5 ; the 
translator's account of his book, 
6 ; given one of the thorns 
from Christ's crown, I o ; leaves 
Egypt when Melechmadabron 
was soldan, 25; exhorts monks 
of Mt. Sinai not to conceal 
miracles, 41; has special letters 
from the soldan to see the Holy 
Places, 54 ; distinguishes his own 
route to Jerusalem, 87 ; speech 
of the soldan to, on the short- 
comings of Christians, 92 sqq. ; 
has drunk three or four times of 
the Well of Youth, and yet 
fares the better, 113 sq. ; takes 
astronomical observations in 
Brabant, Germany, Bohemia, 
and towards Lybia, 120 sq. ; 
visits the garden in Cassay where 

the souls of men appear as 
beasts, 137 (cp. 345) ; serves the 
Great Chan against King of 
Mancy, 143 sq. ; has eaten fruit 
bearing a little beast like a lamb, 
and tells his hosts about barnacle 
geese, 194, (cp 353); has seen 
ships wrecked by the rocks of 
adamant, 178 ; passes through 
the Vale Perilous, 186 sq. (cp. 
358 sq.) ; shows his book to the 
Pope, 207 ; his return and com- 
position of his book in 1356, 
his gout, asks for his readers' 
prayers, 208. 

Mangu or Mango Can, a good 
Christian, 150; his descent, 
301; Rubruk sent to, 307; 
arrangement with Baatu as to 
messengers, 315. 

Manna, description of, 102 ; in 
landofHus(Uz), 328. 

Mappa Mundi, book from which 
it was made, 207. 

Maragu, city of, at north of Chal- 
daea, 173. 

Marah, well of, 38, 41. 

Marched, neighboured on, 243. 

Marches, border countries, 96. 

Mare Mortuum, see Dead Sea. 

Mares' milk, Tartars' drink, 250; 
cosmos made from, 272 sq. 

Mareys, morasses, 87. 

Maricandis, east of Cassaria, 263. 

Marioch (Marasch), in Asia Minor, 
8 5 . 

Mark, S., buried at Alexandria, 
his bones brought to Venice, 38. 

Marmistre (Mopsuestia), in Asia 
Minor, 85. 

Marmosets, monkeys, 156. 

Maron (Merom), lake, 69. 

Marriage, Greek Church view of, 

Marriage customs, 26, 91 114 sq., 
119, 127, 141, 161, 182, 188, 
190, 204, 219 sq., 267, 278, 



Marrok (Morava), river, 7. 

Martha, wine of, 17. 

Mary, the Blessed Virgin, church 
of, at Babylon, 23 ; banishes 
fleas from the monastery of Mt. 
Sinai, 42 ; spots of her milk, at 
Bethlehem, 47 ; rock where she 
learnt her psalter, 58 ; her bed, 
59; Holy Places of, 60; her 
a g e j 63, 76 ; appearance to S. 
Thomas, 65 ; connection with 
Nazareth, 75 ; image of, at Sar- 
denak, 82; vision of our Lord, 
84 ; Mahommedan belief as to, 
89 ; Knights of the order of her 
Hospital at Jerusalem, 288. 

Mary Cleophas, 54. 

Mary Magdalene, S., 53 sq. 

Mary of Egypt, S., 64. 

Mass, only one to be said at same 
altar in Greek Church, 15 ; 
how sung in Prester John's 
land, 197. 

Mastic, gum grown in isle of 
Sylo (Scio), 1 6. 

Matathias, father of Judas Mac- 

- cabaeus, 84. 

Materta, see Matriga. 

Mathe (Hamath), land of, 24. 

Matriga, city of, at mouth of the 
Don, 262 sq. 

Maubek (Baalbec), castle of, in 
Syria, 86. 

Maugre, despite, 17, 208. 

Maund, basket, 284. 

Maundy (mandatum), the New 
Commandment given by Christ 
on the Thursday in Holy Week, 
so Holy Thursday, 14, 61. 

Maure, the Black Sea, 169. 

Mauritania, 105 ; its limits, 73. 

Maydew, makes diamonds grow, 

Mecca, city of, 28. 

Media, 170. 

Mediterranean Sea, 96. 

Meeting, good or ill-luck in, in. 

Megiddo, plain of, 74. 

Megly, Tartar nation or lineage of, 

Megon (Moghan), west of the 

Caspian, battle of, 171. 
Melchisedech, 58, 76. 
Meldan (Meidan), plain of, 69. 
Melech-, royal prefix to various 

names of soldans, 34 sq. 
Melich, son of King Georgia, 219. 
Melistorte, country of, 356. 
Melo, island of, in the Greek sea, 


Membroth, see Nimrod. 

Mengu, grandson of Chinghis Can, 

Menke (Ningpo ?), city of, its 

navy, 139. 
Mennon (Mynon), fosse of, near 

Acre, 22. 
Merclas or Merdui, * Saracen ' 

people, 293. 
Merdochas, a precious stone, Can's 

cistern made of, 347. 
Merkats, dwelling by the Tartars, 


Mesaph, Saracen name for wine, 48. 
Meshach, name given one of the 

Three Children, 23. 
Meshaf, name for the Koran, 83. 
Mesopotamia, 29; its extent, 173. 
Messabor or Nessabor (Nishapiir), 

in Khorasan, 170. 
Messengers, relays of in Cathay, 

*59> 35 1 > punishment of 

counterfeit, 280. 
Messina, Farde or Faro of, 37. 
Methon, see Mecca. 
Metrites, conquered by Chinghis, 

Mice, so large as to be hunted by 

hounds, 191 sq., 330; not eaten 

by Tartars, 274. 
Michaeas, governor of Canow, a 

man full of malice, 240. 
Miles, of Lombardy, Gascony, 

etc., 78. 
Milke, island in the Indian Ocean, 



Millenary, captain of a thousand, 
a great officer, 240, 309. 

Minstrels, at court of Great Chan, 
156, 350. 

Mirrok (Hiericho, in Albania), 
Port, 38, 84. 

Mistorak (Malasgird, in Armenia), 
* isle' of, in the lordship of Prester 
John, mock paradise in, 183 sqq. 

Mizael, one of the Three Chil- 
dren, 23. 

Mobar (Coromandel), kingdom of, 
Odoric visits, 332 ; Indian pil- 
grimage to, 333. 

Money, of leather or paper, 156. 

Monks, signs made by, 1 34. 

Monsters, definition of, 32 ; legend 
of an Egyptian, 1 6 ; one-footed, 
105; various kinds of, 133 sq. ; 
born of fiends and women, 145; 
horned men that grunt as pigs, 
1 80; giants, devouring men, 187 
sq. ; basilisk women, 188; dwarfs, 
living on smell of wild apples, 
196; rough-haired, 196; ox- 
footed, 233. 

Montij, Duke, neighbour of 
Corrensa, on the Dnieper, 243 ; 
Carpini's companions detained 
with him, 245 ; Carpini reaches, 

Montu, city of, ten miles from 
Jaazu, its navy, 346. 

Moon, worship of, 163, 221. 

Morduans, conquered by Tartars, 
232, 246. 

Moretane, see Mauritania. 

Moriah, Mount, 57. 

Morocco, Caliph of Barbary dwells 
at, 29. 

Morsyn, name for Egypt, 23. 

Moseache, Tartar temple, 151. 

Moses, at the well of Marah, 39, 
42; finds dates for Israelites, 39; 
at the Burning Bush, 40 sq. ; 
chapel of, on Mount Sinai, 42 ; 
his rod, 57 ; Mahommedan 
belief as to, 92. 

Moumoran, isle of, 338. 

Mountour or ascensory (Egerton 
text), a mistranslation of Odoric's 
pigna (jar) as pinna (pinnacle); 
a great reservoir of drink in the 
Great Chan's court, 141. 

Mountroyal (Carak), castle of, east 
of the Jordan, 25, 70. 

Mourners, payment o 280. 

Mouths, people without, 1 34. 

Moxels, pagan people beyond the 
Don, 292 ; skins brought from, 


Muc, people called, 324. 
Mure, wall, 183. 
Musketh, mosque, 28. 
Mynia (Paros), isle of, in Greek 

sea, 12. 
Myrok, see Mirrok. 

Nacumera (Nicobar), island of, de- 
scribed, 130. 

Nails, the rich man with the long, 
204 sq., 355 sq. 

Nails from Christ's cross, 10, 52. 

Naimani, province of, west of Tar- 
tary, 214; attack and are van- 
quished by Tartars, 222; Carpini 
reaches country of, 247. 

Nain, city of, 73, 74, 77. 

Nairmount (Noirmount), in Asia 
Minor, hills of, 85. 

Nakedness, custom of, 119, 1 94, 
334; of Cathayan idols, 165. 

Nakers, drums, 185. 

Namely, especially, 92, 254. 

Natatorium Siloe, the Pool of 
Siloam, 62. 

Naymani, see Naimani. 

Nazareth, of the which our Lord 
beareth the surname, 70; de- 
scribed, 75. 

Ne, nor. 

Neasburghe (Wieselburg), castle of, 

Nebuchadnezzar, and the Three 
Children, 23; founds Bagdad, 



Necromancy, divination by means 

of the dead, 153. 
Neigh, neighen, draw near, 186, 


Nemroth, see Nimrod. 

Neople, see Sichem. 

Neper (Dnieper), River, 243. 

Nestorians, 81, 224, 308, 317, 332, 

Nicholas, S., born at Patera, 17 ; 

church of, at Bethlehem, 47. 
Nicholas, servant of Rubruk, 265. 
Nicosea, Archbishop of, in Cyprus, 


Nile, the river, 29 sq., 200 sq. 

Nimrod or Nemroth, king, 27, 145. 

Nine, the number held in reverence 
by the Tartars, 149. 

Ninus, founder of Nineveh, 103. 

Noah or Noe, his dove, 9 ; founded 
Dain, 100; began Nineveh, 103, 
legend of the ark, 100, 327. 

Nones of May, May 7th, 261. 

Norway, stopping point of circum- 
navigation of the world, 123; 
not included in Mandeville's 
reckoning of the earth's surface, 

Noses, Tartar views as to, 277, 284. 

Notre Dame la grande, Notre 
Dame de Latine, churches at 
Jerusalem, 54. 

Nubia, people of, 31 ; Nubian 
Christians, 81. 

Nuns cordelers, made by mistrans- 
lation into ' Nuns of an hundred 
orders,' 72. 

Nye (Nisch, in Servia), city of, 7. 

Nyfland (Livonia), 7, 87. 

Nyke (Nicaea), city of, 1 6 ; de- 
scribed, 85. 

Nyse (Nisa), Prester John's capital, 
178, 182. 

Occoday Can, son of Chingis, 223, 
229; election as Can, 231 sq. ; 
poisoned, 253. 

Odenthos, beasts called, 191. 

Odoric, Friar, his Journal, 326 sqq.; 
scoffed at by Lammori, 334 ; 
eats bread made from meal or 
trees (sago), 336; sees fishes 
offering themselves to be caught, 
337> argues against cannibal 
rites, 340 ; sees idols feasted, 
342 ; fish caught by dive-doppers; 
park where men in guise of beasts 
are fed, 345 ; inquires as to 
numbers in Great Chan's court, 
350 ; stays three years in Cathay, 
354; passes the palace of the 
man with the long nails, 355; 
enters the Valley of Dead Bodies, 
358; dictates his travels, 359; 
desires to present himself to the 
Pope, 361 ; dies, 362. 

Oertige, isle of, see Critige. 

Oft-sithes, often times. 

Oil made' from branches of olive 
brought by birds to Mt. Sinai, 
40 ; dropped from image of the 
B. Virgin at Sardenak, 82. 

Oil of mercy, 9. 

Olivet, Mount, 64. 

Olympus, Mount, 12. 

Orafles (giraffes), beasts called, 

Orda, tent, court, 244, 248, 304. 

Orda, city of, 87. 

Ordinatly, orderly, in good array, 

Ordu, grandson of Chingis Can, 
229 sq.; 247. 

Orfrayed, embroidered with gold, 

Organum, country once called, 


Grille (Chryse), isle of, 198. 
Ormanx, town of, in Asia Minor, 

8 5 . 

Ormes, land of, 329. 

Orna, city of, besieged by Tartars, 


Orped, brave, 104. 
Out-take, except, 161, 202. 
Overthwart, cross, across, 9, 137. 



Owl, saves life of Great Chan, 

Oxen, call to, 122 sq.; men with 

feet of, 233. 
Oxidrate, isle of, 194. 
Ox-worship, in, 114, 130, 331, 


Padua, compared to Canasia, 344 ; 
Odoric dictates his narrative at, 

Pagan religions, Mandeville's re- 
marks on, 205 sq. (cp. 195). 

Pained, tortured, 54. 

Paintures, paintings, 38. 

Palace, of the king of Java, 125 sq., 
335 ; of the Great Chan, 140, 

34 8. 

Pannonia, earlier name for Hun- 
gary, 311. 

Panthers, sweet smell of their skin, 
141 ; worshipped, 16. 

Pantofles, slippers, 271. 

Paper money, 156. 

Papions, hunting-leopards, 20 ; 
their furs, 275. 

Paradise, terrestrial, Nile flows from, 
29 ; apples of, 33 ; lignum aloes 
comes from, 38 ; well at Jeru- 
salem from the river of, 63 ; four 
rivers from, 96, 178, 201 ; Well 
of Youth said to spring from, 
113; Gravelly Sea flows from, 
1 80 ; described, 199 sqq. 

Paradise of Gatholonabes, or the 
Old Man of the Mountain, 183 

sqq- 355 sqq. 

Parossitae, 246 ; nourished by 

steam from food, 233. 
Partridges, tame flock of, 326; 

sold at four for a groat, 328. 
Pascatir, Hungaria Major, 275, 


Pasque, Passover, 61. 
Passover, Saracens feast of the, 318. 
Patera, in Lycia, birthplace of S. 

Nicholas, 17. 
Pathen, isle of, 126. 

Patmos, isle of, 16. 

Patriarchs, sepulchres of, at Heb- 
ron, 44 sq. 

Paul, S., his Epistle ad Colossenses, 
1 8 ; a physician, 82. 

Paynim, see Pagan. 

Peacocks, of the Great Chan, 142, 


Pearls, praying-beads of, I 30. 

Pentexoire, " isle " of, the land of 
Prester John, to the W. of Peking, 
177 sq. 

Pepper-trees, 112 sq., 330 sq. 

Persia, tributary to Great Chan, 
28 ; kingdom of described, 170 
sq.; Emperor of dwells at Sado- 
nia, 101. 

Perydoz, precious stones of a green 
colour, 143. 

Peter, S., his denial of Christ, 61, 
63 ; born at Bethsaida, 73 sq.; 
on Sea of Tiberias, 78 ; ordin- 
ances as to confession, 80 ; vision 
of, 195 ; Indian pilgrimages 
compared to those to S. Peter, 

Pharan, desert of, near Lebanon, 


Pharaoh, drowned in Red Sea, 39. 
Pharsipee (Perschembe in Little 

Armenia), town of, 98. 
Phenice (Philomelium in Asia 

Minor), city of, 86. 
Philosophers, of the Great Chan, 

153, 353- 

Phoenix, legend of the, 32 sq. 
Physicians, at court of Great Chan, 

156, 350. 
Pight, fixed, 122. 
Pilches, skins with the fur on, 162. 
Pilgrimages to Indian idols, 1 1 6, 

333 sq. 

Pilgrims, castle of, 86. 
Pincynard (Petschenegs), land of, 

south of the Danube, 7, 12. 
Pisa, 361. 
Pismires, guardians of hills of gold, 

198 sq. 



Pison or Ganges, river, 1 70, 200 sq. 
Placidas, another name for S. 

Eustace, 85. 
Plat, flat, 1 34. 
Plenerly, fully, 28. 
Plump, cluster, 165. 
Polayne (Poland), 6, 232. 
Polombe, Polumbrum (Quilon, in 

Malabar), description of, 113, 


Pomely, spotted like an apple, 191. 

Pontus, sea of, the Black Sea, 
called by Bulgarians the Great 
Sea, 261 sq. 

Popinjays, parrots, 156, 181. 

Porta Ferrea, the gate supposed to 
have been built by Alexander to 
keep the barbarians out of 
Persia, 293, 302 sq.: see also 
Derbent ; Hell Gate of. 

Porta Speciosa, the Beautiful Gate, 
at Jerusalem, 58. 

Portz de spine, hedgehogs, 191. 

Porus, King, 330. 

Power, armed force, 227. 

Praedicant friars, Dominicans, 213. 

Prelates approach Great Chan, 1 60 
(cp. 360). 

Presents to Great Chan, 149, 155. 

Prester John, lands of, the Anti- 
podes, 1 22 ; his royal estate, 178; 
marriage relations with Great 
Chan, 1 79 ; his religion, ib. ; 
his battle array, 1 8 1 ; his court, 
182 ; why so called, 197 ; wars 
against Chinghis Can, 225 ; his 
kingdom, 322. 

Pretegoani, empire of, 354. 

Pricking, riding hard, 164. 

Priests, wedded, in Greek Church, 

Probatica Piscina, the Pool of 
Bethesda, 59. 

Promission or Promise, the Land 
of, 78, 150. 

Psittakes, parrots, 181. 

Ptolemais, name for Acre, 2 1 . 

Puluual (Bafira), in Asia Minor, 85. 

Pure, an intensive, very, 87. 

Pured, refined, 141. 

Purgatory, denied by Greek 

Christians, 14. 
Pygmies, 138, 346. 
Pyncemartz, see Pincynard. 
Pyromancy, divination by fire, 153. 
Pytan, isle of, 196. 

Quarrels, decided by the arm of S. 

Thomas, 115. 
Quick, alive, 16, 91. 
Quyrboylle, cuir-bouilli, hardened 

leather, 165. 

Raban Francus, religious French- 
man, 345. 

Rachel, buried at Bethlehem, 48. 

Rahab, the common woman, 65 sq. 

Ramath, three miles from Jeru- 
salem, 49, 84. 

Rames, not far from Jaffa, 84. 

Rameses, land of, in Egypt, 3 1 . 

Random, onset, gallop, 155. 

Rasps, raspberries, 272. 

Rather, earlier, 31. 

Rats, as great as hounds, \\^. see 
also Mice. 

Rayed, striped, 131, 191. 

Receipt, receiving box, 75. 

Red Sea, 31, 39, 57. 

Reneyed, denied, 116. 

Resith, isle in the Nile, 3 1 . 

Rhodes, knight of, and the dragon, 
17; knights hospitallers of, 1 8. 

Richard I., wars against Saladin, 

Riclay, " river " of (the town of 
Heraclea, Eregli), 85. 

Rivers, Tartar mode of crossing, 

Roianz (Edessa), city of, 173. 

Romany (Roum), Asia Minor, 85. 

Rome, size of, compared to Izonge, 

Roses, origin of, 47. 

Roundness of the earth demon- 
strated, 1 20. 



Rubies, found by seaside, 20 ; 
gigantic specimen of, 131; one 
belonging to Great Chan, 157 

(cp- 338). 

Rubruquis, William de, his Jour- 
nal, 261 sqq. ; gives out that he 
is not travelling as messenger 
of King of France, 263, 282 ; 
importuned by Tartars for food 
and presents, 281 sqq.; received 
by Scacatai, 283 ; expounds the 
solemnity of Pentecost, 286 ; his 
Saracen convert, 287 ; sent on 
to Sartach, 287 sqq.; received by 
him, 293 sqq.; made to surren- 
der his vestments, 297; received 
by Baatu, 305 sqq.; sent on to 
Mangu Can, 308 sq.; talks with 
Jugures priests, 320 sq. 

Ruffynell, castle of, in Asia Minor, 

Russia, held by King of Hungary, 
7 ; Tartar expedition against, 
232 ; country described, 291 ; 
Russian bishops answer to Pope's 
letters, 260, 

Ryboth (Tibet), "isle" of, 203. 

Saba, city of, in Ethiopia, 105. 

Sabatory, river, only runs on Satur- 
days, 83. 

Sabissacole, hill of, in Armenia, 
100, 327. 

Sachala (Satalia), city of, in Asia 
Minor, 173. 

Sadonia (Soldonia), city of, in 
Persia, 101, 327. 

Saduz (Shangtu), summer residence 
of the Great Chan, 157. 

Safra (Shefa 'Amr), castle of, birth- 
place of SS. James and John, 22, 

Sahythe (Said), province of Egypt, 

? 1 ' 

Saints, Indian, compared with 

Christian, 1 18. 
Sakers, sakrets, falcons, 156. 
Saladin, soldan of Egypt, 24. 

Salem, name for Jerusalem, 49. 

Salt-hill, 101, 327 ; salt-pits, 265, 

Samar, county of, on the Euph- 
rates, 27. 

Samaria, 71. 

Samaritan woman, well at which 
Christ spake with her, 71. 

Samaritans, their religion, dress, 
etc., 74 sq. 

Samites, satin robes, 254. 

Samogetae, Tartar invasion of, 233, 

Samson, at Gaza, 22. 

Samuel, the prophet, 63, 70. 

Sanct Quintin, Simon de, 213 

Saphor, castle of, near Capernaum, 

, 78 '. 

Sapphires, diamonds counterfeited 

from, iO7sq.; preservatives from 
lechery, 182. 

Saracens, have destroyed Tyre, 20; 
counterfeit balm, 34 ; white- 
wash painted portraits, 38 ; 
drink no wine and eat no pork, 
48 ; reverence the Temple at 
Jerusalem, 56; wickedness of at 
Nazareth, 75 ; of their customs 
and law, 88 sqq.; descent of, 
95 ; object to questions on their 
religion, 3 1 7 sq. : see also Mahom- 

Sarak (Sarai), chief city of Coma- 
nia, 169. 

Sarche (Baroch), city of, in India, 

Sardenare, or Sardenak (Sardenaya), 
five miles from Damascus, 2 1 ; 
Church of Our Lady at, 82. 

Sarepta (Surafend), 21. 

Sarguit, city of, surrendered to 
Tartars, 232. 

Sarmassan, in Persia, 170. 

Sarmois, language, 70, 

Sarphen, city of, in Sarepta, 2 1 . 

Sarras, city of Media, Saracens in, 

2 B 



Sartach, messengers travelling to, 
263 ; reports of his conver- 
sion, 264, 281, 299; receives 
Rubruk, 295 sq. ; will not be 
called a Christian, 301. 

Saruyur, country of, invaded by 
Chinghis, 224. 

Saturday, no fasting on, in Greek 
Church, 1 5 ; river Sabatory only 
runs on, 83. 

Saturn, climate of, 109. 

Saures (Chosroes), Emperor of 
Persia, story of, 63, 171. 

Save their grace, forgive the lies of, 

V 3 ' 
Saviour, S., church of, at Tyre. 

Scacatai, kinsman of Baatu, 282 sq. 

Scale, or hill, of Tyre, 22. 

Sclaundre, scandal, 14. 

Sclavonia, see Slavonia. 

Scythia, 97. 

Seal of the Great Chan, 151, 253. 

Sebast, name of Samaria, 7. 

Seedwall, a spice, 125. 

Seir, Mount, near Damascus, 81. 

Seised, possessed of, 4 ; seisin, 
possession, 145. 

Sembly, assembly, 5. 

Semoche, Tartar lineage of, 146. 

Senex de Monte, the Old Man 
of the Mountain, his mock- 
paradise, 355 sq. : see also Gatho- 

Seornergant, see Sormergant. 

Sephor, city of, two miles from 
Nazareth, 75. 

Sepulchre, Church of the Holy, at 
Jerusalem, 50, 56, 60. 

Seres, Chinese, 325. 

Serpents, in Sicily, bite bastards, 
37 ; men who eat and hiss like, 
130; in maiden's bodies, 189 ; 
enormous, 191 ; edible, 342 : see 
also Adders. 

Seth, sent for oil of mercy, 9. 

Seven, the number of Mongal 
princes left alive by Cathayans, 

Shadrach, name given one of the 

Three Children, 23. 
Shem, descendants of, 146. 
Shere Thursday, Thursday in 

Holy Week, 14. 
Shiloh, ark kept at, 70. 
Shoubes or gowns, 2 1 6. 
Shrive, confess, 79. 
Sibar, grandson of Chingis Can, 

229 sq., 247. 

Sichar or Sichem, Neopolis, 71. 
Sicily, description of, 37. 
Sick, treatment of the, 129, 133, 

Sidon, city of, 21. 
Siege, seat, capital, 141, 137. 
Siker, sure, 129. 
Sikerly, surely, safely, 23. 
Sikonies, fowls that they clepen, 30. 
Silha or Sylan (Ceylon), isle of, 

1 3 1 9 33** sqq. : see also Tapro- 


Siloam, pool of, 62. 
Silvester, S., church of, at Rome, 

Simeon, S., 57 ; port of, near 

Antioch, 86. 

Simoltra, kingdom of, 334. 
Simon, the leper, 65. 
Simon, of Cana, 74. 
Simony, crowned king in holy 

church, 14. 
Simulacres, images, how they differ 

from idols, 110; Christian use 

of, 206. 

Sin, desert of, 40. 
Sinai, Mount, order of visiting, 36 ; 

journey to from Babylon, 39 ; 

monastery at, 40 sq. 
Sinope (Synople), castle of, on the 

Black Sea, 85. 
Sion, Mount, Church of B. Virgin 

at, 60 ; holy places of, 61. 
Sith, sithen, since, 12, 17. 
Sithes, times, 182. 
Sits, is placed, situated, 75. 
Skill, reason, 20. 
Skillet, a dish, 246. 



Slavonia, held by King of 

Hungary, 7 ; Slavonians, 311. 
Sleighs, 88. 
Snails, l limons ' mistranslated as if 

Minions,' 113 ; gigantic, 129. 
Soara (Segor), near Dead Sea, 67. 
Sobach (Schobach), under the castle 

of Carak, 70. 

Sobissacalo, Mount, see Sabissacole. 
Sogur, small beasts that hibernate, 


Solanga, people of Langa and, de- 
scribed, 323. 
Solanga, William de, Odoric's 

scribe, 360. 
Solangi, east of Tartars, 214; Dukes 

of the, 250. 
Soldaia, city of, its trade, 262 ; 

presents for the governors of, 

Soldania (Sadonia), Persian King's 

summer residence, 327. 
Solde, hire, 104. 
Solomon, his school, 58 ; builds 

Temple, 166. 
Solomon, Naasson's son, weds 

Rahab, 66. 

Solonia, in Bulgaria, 263. 
Somedeal, somewhat, 113. 
Soothsayers, attend Mangu Can, 

, 3*i- 

Sophia, S., church of, at Constanti- 
nople, 7, 13. 
Sorbolin, name for long pepper, 


Sormergant (Samarkand), city of, 

Sparrow-hawk, Castle of the, its 

legend, 98 sq.; omens from, 

Spear, with which Christ was 

wounded, the head in France, 

10; the shaft in Germany, II. 
Spelunk, cave, 45. 
Spending, money, cash, 83. 
Spring, sprinkle, 114, 116. 
Spurs, not used in Cathay, 163. 
Stage-players, of Great Chan, 349. 

Stagira, birth and burial-place of 
Aristotle, 12. 

Stank, pool, lake, 77, 136. 

Star of the East, see Lode-star. 

Stephen, S., church of, at Jeru- 
salem, 53 ; his head in Church 
of S. Saviour, 60. 

Stews, stoves, 88. 

Stones, magic, protection against 
iron weapons, 336. 

Strangers, Cathayan contempt for, 
164 ; not hurt by beasts, 339. 

Styed, climbed, ascended, 64, 90. 

Sue, follow, 115; suing, following, 
127; suing, following in order, 


Suevi, people called Suevi or 
Hiberi, 263. 

Sugarmago (T'sining chow), city 
of, in China, 140. 

Sumakoto, city of, its silks, 347. 

Sumobar (Sumatra), isle of, 125. 

Sumongal, the water Mongals, 222. 

Sun, flesh roasted by, 43; 
worship of, no, 163; noise 
made at its rising, effects of, 228. 

Sun and Moon, Trees of the, 34, 

Superstition, as to iron, etc., 163, 

Sur, see Tyre. 

Susa, another name for Bagdad, 

Susa, Prester John's capital, 181. 

Susis (Tauris), city of, 327. 

Suttee, custom of, see Wife-burn- 

Swallow, whirlpool, 22. 

Swevenes, dreams, 107. 

Swine, their flesh, forbidden to 
Saracens, 48 ; ill-luck to meet, 
1 1 1 ; as great as oxen, 191. 

Sydonsayete, name of Carthage, 2 1 . 

Sylan, see Silha. 

Sylo (Scio), isle of, 1 6. 

Symar (Sindjar), Mount, in Meso- 
potamia, 173. 

Syne, afterwards, 85. 



Synopolis, province of, 262. 

Syra Orda, great court of Tartar 

emperor, 214, 251. 
Syria, kingdom of, 24. 
Syrian Christians, 80. 

Tabernacle, tent, 2 1 6, 244. 
Table, on which Christ instituted 

Eucharist, 61. 
Tabor, Mount, 76. 
Tagar, an ass load, 356. 
Taken, given, 93. 
Taknia, the enchanter whom the 

B. Virgin feared, 89. 
Talas, city of, 315. 
Tanais or Thainy (Don), river, 97; 

Rubruk crosses, 290; described, 

Taneez, a name for Mt. Ararat, 


Tanghot, Tartar lineage of, 146. 
Tangur, valiant nation of, 322. 
Taprobane (Ceylon), isle of, 198 : 

see also Silha. 

Targe, target, light shield, 1 30, 236. 
Tarmegyte (Merv?), land ofj 104. 
Tarsus, city of, 85. 
Tartaries, Tartar cloth, 152. 
Tartary, way to Jerusalem through, 

86; described, 87; rise of, 146; 

religion of, 151; description of, 

by Carpini, 214 sqq. ; by Rub- 
ruk, 266 sqq. 
Tauris, Taurizo,Thaurizo (Tabriz), 

city of, in Armenia, 100, 170, 


Taverns, preferred to churches, 93. 
Taxis, a name for Taurizo, 100. 
Tebek (Tibet), kingdom of, 354. 
Teber, people of, eat parents, gold 

in their land, 323. 
Techue (Tekoah), town of, 84. 
Teeth, of women of Tibet, 355. 
Tell no price, account as of no 

value, 143. 
Temple, Knights of the, 5 8 ; one 

with an inexhaustible purse, 99; 

one at Sartach's court, 294. 

Temple, at Jerusalem, 54 sq. 
Ten Commandments, place of the 

giving of, 42. 
Tesbria, isle of, in the Greek Sea, 


Thaby, Bamboos, 127. 
Thainy river, see Tanais. 
Thalay, broad river o 346. 
Thana, Friars martyred at, 329. 
Tharse, kingdom of, in Eastern 

Asia, King of one of the Magi, 

167 sq. 

Thebe, river of, in the isle of Brag- 
mans, 192. 
Thecla, S., transfers finger of S. 

John Baptist, 72. 
Theft, texts used as charms against, 

76; punishment of, 279 sq. ; 

by Tartars, 258, 287. 
Theodosius, Emperor, moves relics 

of S. John Baptist, 72. 
Theophilus, saved by Our Lady 

from the Enemy, 29. 
Therf, unfermented ; therf bread, 

sacrament of the altar made of, 

by Greeks, 14. 
Thiaday, son of Chingis Can, 229, 


Thiaut Can, of Cathay, 163. 
Thinketh, seems to, 117. 
Thomas, S., appearance of Christ 

to, 6 1 ; of B. Virgin to, 65 ; 

judgments given by his arm, 

115 sqq. (cp. 332). 
Thomas, S., Patriarch of, 182. 
Thorn, the English letter for th, 

9 6. 

Thorns, Christ's crown of, 10 sq. 
Thosses, a kind offish, 263. 
Thossut Can, son of Chingis, 

Threshold, punishment for treading 

on a Tartar, 221, 242, 254, 305, 


Thuman, ten thousand, 344, 346; 

see also Cumant. 

Thunder and lightning, in Tartary, 
87, 215, 278. 



Tiberias, city of, relics of Christ at, 

Tiberias, sea of, 77 sq.; Baths of, 


Tigris, river, 29, 200 sq. 
Tirbon, prince, 243. 
Tittest, quickest, 83. 
Tobit, burial place of, 103. 
To-broken, broken in pieces, 1 17. 
Told, counted, 267. 
Took, gave, 9. 
Toot-hill, spy-hill, observatory, 

Torrens Cedron, Brook Kidron, 


Tortouse (Tortosa), in Syria, 86. 

Toursout, see Tarsus. 

Tracoda, isle of, 130; tracodon, a 

precious stone of, ib. 
Traconitis, kingdom of, 77. 
Transfiguration, of Christ, 76. 
Transmontane star, see Lode-star. 
Trapesunda (Trebizond), 97 sq., 

263, 326. 
Trees, bearing meal, i.e. sago, 126, 

335; wonderful, 1 90 sq. ; of the 

Sun and Moon, 34, 96. 
Trenchant, in position for cutting, 


Trepassable, passable over, 122. 
Treviso, marquisate of, 361. 
Triacle, balm, 126. 
Tripoli, 25, 83, 86. 
Trouble, adj., turbid, 105. 
Troy, city of, 12. 
Turcople (Turcopuli), 12. 
Turgemannus, companion of Rub- 

ruk, 265. 

Turkestan, kingdom of, 168. 
Turkey, limits of its empire, 262 


Turkeys, adj., Turkish, 104. 
Tympieman (Turkoman, Melik-el- 

Mo'izz), soldan, 24. 
Tyre, haven of, 20. 

Unclean beasts, eating of forbidden 
in Greek Church, 1 5 ; unclean 
habits of eating, 164, 278. 

Unction, Greek use of, 14. 

Undern, soon after 9a.m., 109. 

Undernim, blame, 94. 

Unions, large pearls, 338. 

Unnethe, scarcely, 135. 

Uppermore, higher up, 85. 

Ur, city of, 104. 

Urchins, hedgehogs, 191. 

Usury, not forbidden by Greek 
Church, 14. 

Uz, land of, 328. 

Valair, Tartar lineage of, 1 46. 

Valakia, Wallachia, 263, 311. 

Valani, Comanians so-called, 288. 

Vale Enchanted, of Devils, Peri- 
lous, 185, 358 sq. 

Valone (Avlona), city of, in 
Albania, 38, 84. 

Vapa, a name for wine (another 
rendering makes it another name 
for the city of Bethel, 101. 

Vastacius, county of, 263. 

Venice, compared as to size to 
Cassay, 136; to Canasia, 344. 

Vermin, expelled from monastery 
at Mt. Sinai, 41 sq. 

Verres, glasses, 22. 

Very, adj., true, 89, 106. 

Vespasian, besieges Jerusalem, 55. 

Vestments, Rubruk's, 295,297, 308. 

Vine, planted by S. John Evangel- 
ist, 42 ; in the Great Chan's 
Palace, 143. 

Violastres, Indian diamonds called, 

. I0 7- . 
Virgo, sign of, 30. 

Vivary, fish pond, 117, 140. 
Volga, River, 243 ; description of, 

302 sq. : see also Etilia. 
Vut Can, brother of Prester John, 

300, 322. 

Uber, mountains of Caspian, I74sq. 
Udini, Odoric at, 361. 

Wake, keep watch, 95. 
Wanhope, despair, 188. 



Warfare, carrier pigeons used in, 79. 

Warkes, name for elephants, 128. 

Washing clothes, Tartar objection 
to, 216, 278. 

Wasilico, Duke of Russia, kind- 
ness to Carpini, 229, 259. 

Wed, in wed, in pledge, 10. 

Well, hot and cold, 105 ; of 
Youth, 113. 

Whips, Tartar superstitions as to, 
163, 220. 

Wife-burning or -burial, when 
husband dies (Suttee), 114 sq., 
129, 189, 332, 337. 

Wine, Saracen's drink, 20, 48 ; 
origin of Mahomet's prohibi- 
tion of, 95 ; drunk by women, 
not by men, in Lombe, 115; 
not drunk in Tharse, 168. 

Wisely, surely, 46. 

Wit, knows, 5. 

Withholden, stayed, 6. 

Woke, watched, 198. 

Yaymen, Nestorian Christians, 299. 
Yede, went, 19. 

Yeka Mongal, the Great Mongals, 


Yemaund, observing, 83. 
Yok, the English letter for gh, 96. 
Younger son, inheritance of, 279. 
Yperpera, coin called, 234, 266. 
Ypocras, lord of Lango, his daugh- 
ter turned into a dragon, 1 7. 
Yroga, Cathayan god, 162. 
Ysya Can, 147. 

Zacchaeus, the dwarf, 65. 
Zacharias, altar where he was 

slain, 58 ; tomb of, 64. 
Zarim, see Jezreel. 
Zarocon, of Media, 24. 
Zavena, city of, 326. 
Zebedee, sons of, 77. 
Zenonimus, S., tomb of, in Cyprus, 

Zikia, near the mouth of the Don, 


Zinglantz or Cyncilim (Cranga- 
mor), city of, in Malabar, 1 1 2, 

Zoar, city of, 68,